A couple of days after the schedule of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand was announced, England’s iconic former all-rounder Ian Botham admitted he was still disappointed at not winning the event when it was last staged there in 1992.
England lost to Pakistan by 22 runs in the final after being bowled out for 227, while chasing a target of 250. Botham himself had a quiet match as he took one for 42 off his seven overs and scored a naught – caught at the wicket off Wasim Akram.
“It only comes round every four years so it was really disappointing not to have won in 1992 when I thought we were the best team, but we didn’t and you have to deal with that. It would have been a great thing to achieve in my career and I gave it a good go, and as long as you do that you can't have any regrets,” said Botham, who scored 192 runs and took 16 wickets in the tournament.
“My main memory is that it was a tournament we should have won. We had the rough end of the stick in the final with a couple of decisions, but having said that I still enjoyed it tremendously.
“It was a great tournament for the team to get to the final and for me personally, in particular the four wickets I took against Australia in Sydney, which put them out of the tournament. The crowd really wanted us to lose the final at the MCG that's for sure,” added Botham while reflecting on England’s eight wickets victory.
Botham, who also played in the ICC Cricket World Cup in 1979 and 1983, said the player who impressed him most was Pakistan’s Wasim Akram. “The one player who really stood out for me was Wasim Akram.
“It was in that tournament that we realised just what a special talent he was and how much trouble he was going to give us and the rest of the world in the years to come. What a player he was,” he said
England has been placed in Pool A along with Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Qualifier 2 and Qualifier 3.
England will kick-off its campaign in 2015 against traditional rival and co-host Australia on the opening day on 14 February under the MCG lights and will play its last pool match against Qualifier 2 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on 13 March.
Botham, previewing the 2015 event, said: “I think changes to the 50 overs game makes it quite hard to predict (a winner). With the powerplay and field placing changes, I think teams are never out of a game until the very end and that makes for exciting cricket.
“In Australia and New Zealand I think England will stand a good chance. They showed how much they've improved by reaching the Champions Trophy final and they can now keep progressing in order to peak in 2015.”
Schedule of England’s matches in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015:
Sat 14 Feb – v Australia v England, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne (d/n)
Fri 20 Feb – v New Zealand, Regional Stadium, Wellington (d/n)
Mon 23 Feb – v Qualifier 3, Hagley Oval, Christchurch (d)
Sun 1 Mar – v Sri Lanka, Regional Stadium, Wellington (d)
Mon 9 Mar – v Bangladesh, Adelaide Oval, Adelaide (d/n)
Fri 13 Mar – v Qualifier 2, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney (d/n)
The ICC Cricket World Cup will be contested by the 10 Full Members of the ICC, together with four Associate and Affiliate Members that qualify through the ICC Cricket World Cup qualifying programme.
Full details on the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 are available at www.cricketworldcup.com, where fans can also register for ticketing news and other tournament updates.
The official hashtag for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 is #cwc15.
International travel packages and ticketing information including tiers and packages will be released later this year.