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'Beefy' Botham pays tribute to 'brother Smokin Joe' Richards

London, Thu, 08 Mar 2012 ANI

London, Mar.8 (ANI): Former England captain and legendary all-rounder Sir Ian Botham has paid glowing tribute to former West Indian great Sir Viv Richards, after the latter turned 60 a couple of days ago.


Describing Richards as a brother, "Beefy" Botham said that he was a great man and a great friend


He said that on the field, both were great rivals, but off it, they have remained great friends to this day.


"Where else would I be when my best buddy turned 60!? In Antigua, of course, ready to celebrate with the great man. It has been a long road we've travelled together from our early days at Somerset where we shared a house for 10 years and had some great times together," The Mirror quoted Botham, as saying.


He said that it was scary thought to think that the two of them were getting on years, and closer now to ending their lives and living it to the full as they were both used to.


"I don't know where the time has gone. One minute we were living life to the full on and off the cricket field and doing our bit for county and country, and now, we are more concerned with our short iron game than hitting bowlers back over their heads," Botham said.


"Although I think Viv would still fancy his chances of taking an attack apart now. He's still in decent nick for an old man," added Botham.


"He was the best friend I could have wished for growing up in the game, and since we both finished playing, he's still been at my side for all the important times in life and vice versa. In fact, he is not really my best friend, he is more like a brother to me and we are part of each other's family. He is the godfather to my son and a huge part of my life," said Botham.


"To have both played the game we love and represented our respective country with distinction, and then to both be knighted, was the stuff of dreams," the former England all-rounder said.


"He was the finest batsman I've ever seen live. There might be others ready to argue their case, but for me Viv was supreme with a bat in his hand and I don't know a bowler in the world who treasured another wicket more than his," he said. (ANI)


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