Bowling plans were stolen, says Botham
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter

Ground:Melbourne Cricket Ground
Player:IT Botham, DI Gower, D Lloyd, ML Hayden, A Symonds

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 stolen?" 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."


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