Monday 23 August 2021 9:11 am

UK beefs up international trade effort by naming cricket legend Ian Botham envoy to Ashes rivals Australia

Former England cricket captain Ian Botham has been appointed as a UK trade envoy to Australia.

Lord Botham is to be one of 10 new UK trade tsars tasked with drumming up business for Britain in overseas markets that also include New Zealand and Canada, The Sun reported.

“It’s a great honour to carry out this role in a country that I love and have come to know so well,” said Botham.

“I have spent a significant amount of my career in Australia, and I am excited to have the opportunity.”

Botham, 65, led England in several Ashes duels with Australia at home and abroad and also played district cricket Down Under early in his career.

“We might be rivals on the cricket pitch, but Britain and Australia share a strong belief in the power of free and fair trade,” said International Trade Secretary Liz Truss.

“Having Lord Botham going in to bat for British businesses will help them seize the opportunities our trade deal presents.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck a new trade deal with Australia in June that will see lower tariffs for British exports such as Scotch whisky and biscuits. The trade relationship was worth £13.9bn last year.

Legendary all-rounder Botham – nicknamed Beefy – scored 5,200 runs and took 383 wickets for England in a 16-year Test career that ended in 1992.

Since then he has remained in the game as a broadcaster and has been chairman of Durham County Cricket Club since 2017.

Botham is also known for undertaking charity walks that have raised millions of pounds for leukaemia research and has his own range of wines.

A prominent supporter of Brexit, he has said: “I think that England is an island. I think that England should be England. And I think that we should keep that.”