Bowling plans were stolen, says Botham
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 28th December 2006
Ian Botham believes England‘s bowling plans were "stolen" as the row
over the leaked document intensified. The England legend, a Sky Sports
commentator, disputes the circumstances under which it is believed the
document found its way into the hands of Australian radio station ABC.
Former England batsman David Gower, discussing the leaked plans on Sky
Sports, asked Botham about how the document was "found".
Botham, England‘s greatest all-rounder, said: "You say found. It was a
stolen piece of paper out of the dressing room and should not be
stolen. Just who was in the dressing room and what else has been
Gower said: "It was found, photocopied and emailed. Most people are
kept out of the dressing room."
Former England batsman, David Lloyd, also a Sky Sports commentator,
added: "It is run-of-the-mill stuff but the disturbing thing is it is
in the public domain – how did it get there? Those are the questions
England will be investigating."
ABC radio commentator Jim Maxwell felt the station had done little
wrong Wednesday by reading out the plans on air. The station were
emailed a copy of England’s tactics for dealing with the Australian
batsmen in the fourth Ashes Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The team believe the sheet – which ABC have now posted on their website
– may have gone missing from the dressing room and photocopied,
although it is possible a copy could have gone astray elsewhere.
Unfortunately for England the plans appeared to have little impact as
Australia reached 372 for seven on the second day, a lead of 213, after
centurions Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds put on 279.
Maxwell said: "It was an attachment to an email which seemed to specify
the plans for all the Australian batsmen. It was a lovely bit of
information about all the Australia batsmen and their weaknesses and
what England needed to do to get them out. Unfortunately for England it
arrived during a mammoth partnership – so the plans were not working
very well. I don’t think it was particularly mischievous to read it
out, I can’t see how any harm has been done. If this gets out into the
open it is not earth-shattering news is it? As we said at the time,
whatever the tactics they were weren’t working."
The source of the leak is unknown, with Maxwell saying he did not know
whether the emailer was using an alias or not. He added: "He had an
unusual name. I don’t know if it was the right name, it may have been a
fictitious name. I’ll leave that to the powers that be. He claimed he
just found it lying around the place."
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew, who has also been
commentating for ABC, added: "It just popped up in our email."