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Watch: When Andrew Strauss’ fielding change proved Ian Botham wrong on air

Strauss Botham
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: In what turned out to be a hilarious instance of commentator’s curse, Ian Botham’s critical assessment of an England fielding change almost instantly followed a dismissal involving the same fielder during the England-Sri Lanka Manchester ODI in 2006.

The video of the incident, which recently resurfaced on social media, captures Botham questioning England captain Andrew Strauss’ decision to station Jamie Dalrymple on the deep cover fence for Sanath Jayasuriya, who had ambled to a 19-ball 14 by the middle of the fourth over. While it did seem to be a logical call, given Jayasuriya’s penchant for slicing deliveries to the off-side, Botham, on-air with Nasser Hussain, was seemingly unimpressed by the positioning.

“I feel the field is absolutely, completely wrong,” Botham is heard thundering on the mic, as Jayasuriya prepares to take guard. “They’ve changed the field, they’ve brought fine leg up, they’ve put a man for short, wide long-hop. What is going on?”

Off the very next ball, Harmison sends down a length ball, with ample width, to Jayasuriya, who, in trademark fashion, crunches it over the infield. The ball hurtles towards the fence, and ends up down the throat of Dalrymple, stationed for the very same shot.

“Well done, Ian Botham,” chuckled Hussain, even as the England fielders converged to celebrate the tame dismissal.

Even if you have seen this one before, it’s worth a second watch:

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