Cricket

England cricket great Ian Botham says he had coronavirus in January but mistook it for a case of flu

On recreational cricket in England, Ian Botham said he expects it to be back soon as social distancing is possible in cricket

England cricket great Ian Botham says he had coronavirus in January but mistook it for a case of flu

London: Former England all-rounder Ian Botham has claimed that he got infected by the dreaded coronavirus early this year but mistook it for "a bad case of flu".

The contagious disease has infected over 10 million people worldwide, killing more than 500,000.

File image of Ian Botham. Reuters

File image of Ian Botham. Reuters

"I think the thing to remember is that six months ago no-one even knew what this was, hadn't heard of it," Botham told Good Morning Britain.

"I've actually had it. I had it at the end of December, beginning of January, and I thought I had a bad case of flu. It's amazing how long it has been around, we don't know all the details. It was very much a sort of in the dark, let''s see what happens."

Botham urged the people to show a bit of patience as he hoped things will improve in a couple of weeks.

"I think people have been responding extremely well. I hope they show a bit more patience over the next couple of weeks or so, so we can get to a situation where everybody can move around," he said.

While the three-Test series beginning 8 July between England and the West Indies will mark the resumption of international cricket following the coronavirus-enforced break, club cricket is still on hold.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had last Tuesday called the cricket ball ''a natural vector of disease'' and his decision to uphold the ban on recreational cricket was slammed by former cricketers, including former England captain Michael Vaughan.

Botham has little doubt that the sport will begin soon as cricket is a such a game in which social distancing is possible.

"I think cricket will be back very shortly. Cricket can be played. There's no real physical contact there, you can keep your social distancing quite easily," said the 64-year-old.

Botham, who is the chairman at Durham, said deliberations are on and a decision will come soon.

"I believe there is a couple of meetings coming up where the decisions will be made. From my point of view, speaking to the boys at Durham, they are back in training, they are very, very keen to get out there and play, as any young sportsman," he said.

"There is talk about whether it is white ball or red ball cricket – it should be both, all aspects of the game should come back.

"There's a lot of guys out there, we have guys at Durham, who are in the last year of their contract, young players, and if they don't get a chance to show what they've got out there in the middle, some of these contracts won't be renewed."

Updated Date: June 29, 2020 17:01:11 IST

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