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England and West Indies to compete for Richards-Botham Trophy

Legends and friends: Viv Richards and Ian Botham
Legends and friends: Viv Richards and Ian Botham GLYN KIRK AFP
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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP)

England and the West Indies will contest the new Richards-Botham Trophy when they next meet in a Test series, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced Thursday.

The trophy has been named in honour of West Indies batting great Vivian Richards and celebrated England all-rounder Ian Botham, who were team-mates at English county Somerset before becoming opponents on the world stage.

It will be the Wisden Trophy that is up for grabs when the third and final Test of the current campaign gets underway at Old Trafford on Friday, with England and the West Indies locked at 1-1.

That was introduced in 1963 to mark the centenary of the Wisden Almanack 'cricket's bible', with Caribbean cricket great Learie Constantine a key mover behind its inception.

But former England captain Mike Atherton recently suggested the teams should compete for a prize named after outstanding cricketers as happens when Australia and India contest the (Allan) Border-(Sunil) Gavaskar Trophy.

"This is a huge honour for my good friend Ian and myself," said Richards, who scored more than 8,500 runs during a 121-Test career.

"I am delighted to know that the game that I have shown my love for since a little boy is naming such a prestigious award in my recognition of what I managed to achieve as a cricketer," added the 68-year-old Antiguan.

Richards reserved many of his best performances for England, including a majestic 291 at the Oval in 1976 and a blistering unbeaten century in West Indies' World Cup final win at Lord's three years later.

"When I had the opportunity to go to England and represent Somerset, one of the first persons I met was Ian Botham, who would later become of one my best friends.

"We were competitors on the field, but we showed we were brothers off the field."

Botham, 64, who scored more than 5,000 runs and took 383 wickets in 102 Tests, said: "Viv was the finest batsman I ever played against.

"He's a great friend but we've always been competitive, not least when we were on the cricket field, and there was no one else's wicket I would treasure more.

"Playing the West Indies was always one of the toughest tests in cricket, and it's an honour for this trophy to bear our names."

The Wisden Trophy will be 'retired' and displayed in the MCC Museum at Lord's, where it has traditionally been kept.

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