Monday, 25 June 2012

Battle of the Ians

Rows between cricketers aren't unusual. Don Bradman, whilst one of Australia's favourite players was about as popular with his team mates as a pork pie at a barmitzvah due to his anti Catholic views, which so rumour has it, were akin to those of Ian Paisley. When he was out for a duck in his final Test innings, allegedly a few of his team mates laughed. Others who have had issues include Boycott and Illingworth, Pietersen and Moores, and Peter Roebuck was as popular as a fart in a lift in the Somerset dressing room. However, it is rare that this actually turns into a full blown fight, but one incident back in March 1977, did just that, and it was the battle of the Ian's - Botham and Chappell.

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Sir Ian Botham

Both have wildly differing views on the subject. The Middle Stump have always been purveyors of fairness and are never biased, so it depends if you believe the wonderful and English Sir Ian Botham, a man of many charitable causes, or the worst type of Aussie (you know, those who look like they have a spotty botty), Ian Chappell. Although to be fair, I have always enjoyed his newspaper columns and journalistic style.

It started with Chappell shouting off about England being a poor side, as they were drinking in a bar near the MCG after a day at the Centenary test, and with Botham retorting that he wouldn't tour England that summer saying "Everyone wants to knock your block off, because you're a prick". That they can agree on.

According to the Aussie, Sir Ian then put a glass to his throat and threatened to cut him from ear to ear, an accusation that the Englishman has always vigorously denied. A few more words were exchanged before Botham sent Greg's brother flying off a bar stool, which resulted in them going outside to avoid getting blood all over the bar I presume? Chappell says he was caught by surprise, but at The Middle Stump we know that if someone has already threatened you with a beer glass, as the Australian suggests, the element of surprise is hardly in the Mayor of Hiroshima proportions now is it?

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Ian Chappell

Again this is where the stories differ; Chappell refused to go outside saying there were police around and "it wasn't worth going to jail over a c**t like you" before calmly leaving the bar, or Beefy saying he swore at me before running scared through the car park. Or something like that! Either way Botham chased him out and had to be held back by numerous people.

This then carried on three years later as Both removed Chappelli for a duck in a state game, pointing out the flaws in his technique as the Australian was returning to the pavilion, and continued throughout the series.

Thirty five years later the two men still don't speak, even though both are grandparents and have shared the same commentary box on numerous occasions. Whatever happens in cricket, it should always be forgotten about over a beer or two after play, but this is one of those things that looks like it will keep going until the both men reach their final resting place.


  1. One of my favourite entries on this site. Made me laugh til I as weak.

    Ian Botham is a legend and Ian Chappell... isn't. Nothing really more to say.
    Exit stage left Ian Chappell, you prize Aussie prat.

  2. Thanks Nina. Some of this article went down as well with our Australian friends as some of Bradmans would have done in the Vatican, but hey ho! Glad you liked it...