England and West Indies will compete for a new Richards-Botham Trophy when they next meet in a men’s Test series to pay tribute to two of their greatest players whose rivalry and friendship embodies the close relationship and mutual respect between the two sides.
The third Test between the two sides will be the last time the teams compete for the Wisden Trophy, the England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket West Indies have announced.
In its place, the new Richards-Botham Trophy will now be designed when the teams next meet in a Test series.
The title honours Sir Vivian Richards, one of cricket’s greatest batsmen who scored more than 8,500 runs in a 121-Test career, and Sir Ian Botham, the legendary all-rounder who scored more than 5,000 runs and took 383 wickets in 102 Tests.
Fierce competitors on the pitch, the pair developed a great friendship off it which still endures, and the new trophy is a fitting way to celebrate the warm relationship between the nations and to honour the gladiatorial spirit of contests past and present.
The Wisden Trophy, first introduced in 1963 to commemorate the hundredth edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, will now be retired and will be displayed at the MCC Museum at Lord’s where it has traditionally been kept.
Sir Vivian Richards said it is a huge honour for him and his good friend Ian.
“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 recognition of what I managed to achieve as a cricketer. 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 of my best friends. We are friends for life,” Richards said in a statement.
“To have this trophy – West Indies vs England – named in honour of our work on the cricket field is great. What I think is also remarkable is that it says a lot about our relationship off the field as well. We were competitors on the field, but we showed we were brothers off the field. I’m proud to have my name on one side of the trophy with him on the other side,” he added.
Sir Ian Botham termed Richards the “finest batsman” he 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,” Botham said.
“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. I hope future series will be just as exciting as the one we’ve all been enjoying this summer,” he added.