Last week I recorded a BBC2 programme on the Ashes series of 1981 and the legendary performance of Ian Botham. I remember that Headingley Test Match well. . I was working as a broker in the Lloyd's insurance market and spent the whole of the afternoon glued to the Telelvision in a drinking hole called Myttons. On Friday I watched, with my sons, Peterson make a double hundred at Lords and then later we played the Botham recording.
What struck us all was the sheer joie de vivre of Botham's innings. There he was, helmet less, belting six bells out of the Australian fast bowlers and laughing and grinning all the time as he did it. His whole attitude, and the way he went about the Australian attack, was the purest illustration of the definition of the word ' cavalier.' Contrast it to KP's double century at Lords. This was the doing of a grim puritan. It was a workmanlike and, at times, even brilliant innings but your heart didn't lift to see it played as it lifted watching Botham in his pomp. This was a puritan at work. A man consumed by a desire to succeed and a man who would, in order to achieve it, forgo a bottle of wine and happy night out with his mates getting completely smashed in favour of a quiet night in with the rowing machine and a sports drink.