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‘Blood brothers’ Sir Ian Botham and Sir Viv Richards are still playing their shots

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blood brothers sir ian botham and sir viv richards are still playing their shots

Sir Ian Botham and Sir Viv Richards are chatting on Zoom like the old friends they are, about their families, their golf, and the Yeovil laundrette they used during their time at Somerset.

But the conversation, which is taking place because the ECB and Cricket West Indies have decided that the Wisden Trophy will henceforth be called the Richards-Botham Trophy, is never dull. At times, it feels like the good-natured partnerships they shared at Taunton trying to outhit each other over the River Tone.

Botham is 64 now, and Richards 68. Between them, they’ve seen it all, racked up 223 Test appearances, 13,740 runs and 415 wickets (most of them, admittedly, Botham’s). Yet they are both clearly touched by the honour, which means Wisden’s 57-year association with England-West Indies series will end after the decisive third Test, starting on Friday in Manchester.

'Blood brothers' Sir Viv Richards (left) and Sir Ian Botham pictured on a beach in Antigua

'Blood brothers' Sir Viv Richards (left) and Sir Ian Botham pictured on a beach in Antigua

‘Blood brothers’ Sir Viv Richards (left) and Sir Ian Botham pictured on a beach in Antigua

Botham appealing to have Richards out during a match in the Texaco Trophy in 1991

Botham appealing to have Richards out during a match in the Texaco Trophy in 1991

Botham appealing to have Richards out during a match in the Texaco Trophy in 1991

31121024 0 image a 52 1595533331526

31121024 0 image a 52 1595533331526

Richards calls Botham a ‘dear friend’; Botham calls Richards ‘a blood brother’. Only one team came out on top when they met in Tests, but the mutual respect never dimmed. Actually, it’s more like love.

‘We were sending the message long ago that you can get along,’ Richards tells Sky Sports. ‘Ian got a lot of hate-mail at times for being my friend. I think that was coming from some nasty folks who never quite believed in togetherness.

‘What I can say to Ian? I can thank him so much for being in my corner. We just represented what I think people should be representing: that we’re all human beings, and that’s the most important thing.’

Botham jumps in: ‘I said throughout my career, I don’t care if a guy comes from Mars and he’s blue. It’s the person you meet and bond with.’

Later, when Botham tells Sportsmail that ‘all lives matter’ – a line with which Richards agrees – he does so not out of disrespect for the Black Lives Matter movement, but because he simply can’t envisage a world in which one race places itself above another. For him, the very discussion seems ‘a bit alien’.

The pair spoke to Sportsmail's Lawrence Booth and Sky Sports over a Zoom conversation

The pair spoke to Sportsmail's Lawrence Booth and Sky Sports over a Zoom conversation

The pair spoke to Sportsmail’s Lawrence Booth and Sky Sports over a Zoom conversation

Famously, Botham declined to take part in either of English cricket’s two rebel tours of apartheid South Africa – another defining moment in his friendship with Richards.

‘The thing that finally finished me with all that was when they turned round to Viv and said: “We’ll make you an honorary white man.” I said: “Hang on, where’s this going?”

‘He’s black and he’s proud and magnificent and a great guy. He doesn’t want to be an honorary white man any more than I want to be an honorary black man.’

It is no coincidence that the timing of the trophy’s re-designation chimes with the mood of West Indies’ visit. Both sets of players took a knee before the first Test in Southampton, while the tourists – led by the impressive Jason Holder – wore a black glove on their right fist in a nod to the Black Power salutes by American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics.

It has been decided that Wisden Trophy will henceforth be called the Richards-Botham Trophy

It has been decided that Wisden Trophy will henceforth be called the Richards-Botham Trophy

It has been decided that Wisden Trophy will henceforth be called the Richards-Botham Trophy

For Richards, who used to bat wearing the green, yellow and red Rastafarian wristband, the subject has always been close to his heart.

‘I most certainly agree with Ian when he says all lives matter,’ he says. ‘It’s been highlighted now because of the events we’ve seen played out in America – this hate towards our colour. If we have respect for one another, these things wouldn’t come into the equation.

‘Look at Covid. We are not in control. This warfare is hitting everyone – not just black or white, but every race and every country on earth. We should all just sit back and reflect on where we’d like to be.

‘When we look at some of the more powerful countries who have these huge bombs – can they attack Covid with these destructive weapons? No! Let us put our energies into things that matter when it comes to human beings. And when we do that, we’re going to have a better world.’

Richards hooks Botham during the Fifth Test at the Oval in London in August 1984

Richards hooks Botham during the Fifth Test at the Oval in London in August 1984

Richards hooks Botham during the Fifth Test at the Oval in London in August 1984

Botham has already made clear his views on equality: ‘It’s just automatic to me. I don’t really understand some of the thoughts or why some people react the way they have. We’re all together in this.

‘The world might not be together in 100 years’ time. Watch those Russians! You never know what might happen. You’ve got to make the most of it and live for today. You’ve got to be able to share and enjoy life.’

Forty-six years on from the morning in May when the two men made their county championship debut together against Lancashire at Taunton, Ian Botham and Viv Richards are playing as many shots as ever.

Watch Sir Ian Botham and Sir Viv Richards on Sky Sports Cricket on Friday.

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Champions League Group Stage draw: UK start time, TV channel, live stream FREE and pots as Prem clubs learn their fate

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THE Champions League is back for a brand new season.

Just a few short weeks after Bayern Munich lifted Big Ears in Lisbon, the group stage draw sees 32 sides begin their journey to the final.

Bayern beat PSG 1-0 to win the Champions League back in August

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Bayern beat PSG 1-0 to win the Champions League back in AugustCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Four Premier League clubs are taking part this season, with Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea set to learn their fate.

When is the Champions League group stage draw?

  • The draw takes place on Thursday, October 1.
  • It will be held at RTS Studios in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Things get going at 4pm BST, which is 5pm local time.

Which TV channel and live stream can I watch it on?

You can catch all of the draw live on BT Sport 1 here in the UK.

Coverage will begin at 3.45pm.

If you want to stream and have a BT subscription, download the BT Sport app.

The draw will also be available FREE on Uefa’s website, with a direct live stream from Switzerland – and you can also follow right here on SunSport with our live blog.

Bayern are back to defend the trophy this season

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Bayern are back to defend the trophy this seasonCredit: Getty

Champions League teams

  • Spain: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla
  • England: Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea
  • Italy: Juventus, Inter, Atalanta, Lazio
  • Germany: Bayern, Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Mönchengladbach
  • France: Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille, Rennes
  • Russia: Zenit, Lokomotiv Moskva
  • Portugal: Porto
  • Belgium: Club Brugge
  • Ukraine: Shakhtar Donetsk
  • Turkey: Istanbul Basaksehir
  • Holland: Ajax

Group stage dates

  • Matchday 1: October 20/21
  • Matchday 2: October 27/28
  • Matchday 3: November 3/4
  • Matchday 4: November 24/25
  • Matchday 5: December 1/2
  • Matchday 6: December 8/9

Draw pots

Pot 1

Bayern, Sevilla, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Zenit, Porto.

Pot 2

Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Ajax.

Pot 3

Dynamo Kyiv, RB Leipzig, Inter Milan, Olympiakos, Lazio, Atalanta (two more clubs to be confirmed after play-offs on September 30)

TBC

Lokomotiv Moscow, Marseille, Club Brugge, Borussia Monchengladbach, Istanbul Basaksehir, Rennes, Ferencvaros.

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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Brighton vs Man Utd: Live stream, TV channel, kick-off time and teams for TONIGHT’S Carabao Cup clash

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BRIGHTON face Manchester United for the second time in five days as the sides meet in the Carabao Cup.

Bruno Fernandes’ 100th minute penalty secured a 3-2 win for the Red Devils at the weekend with VAR reversing the referee’s decision after the final whistle had blown.

Man Utd left it until the 100th minute to beat Brighton at the weekend

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Man Utd left it until the 100th minute to beat Brighton at the weekendCredit: AFP or licensors

In this competition Man Utd qualified with a 3-0 win at Luton last week while Brighton won 2-0 at Preston.

What time does Brighton vs Man Utd kick off?

  • The match kicks off at 7.45pm BST tonight.
  • Like Saturday’s pulsating clash, it will take place at the Amex Stadium.

What TV channel is Brighton vs Man Utd on and can I live stream it?

  • Brighton vs Man Utd is live on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event.
  • Coverage commences at 7.30pm – 15 minutes before kick-off.
  • To stream the game live, head to your Sky Go account.
  • Non-Sky Sports subscribers can still watch all the action from £9.99 with a Now TV Day Pass.

Team news

Dean Henderson is set to return between the sticks after keeping a clean sheet on his debut at Luton.

Juan Mata, Daniel James and Odion Ighalo could all return if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decides to make significant changes while Eric Bailly is likely to come back in after a commanding display at Kenilworth Road.

Andreas Pereira is expected to join Lazio so unlikely to play any part.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Alexis Mac Allister both impressed at Preston for Brighton and are therefore likely to return to the side.

sport preview man utd 11 3

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Latest odds

Brighton 3/1

Draw 13/5

Man Utd 20/23

*Odds from Ladbrokes correct as of Tuesday, September 29

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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Fulham secure the loan signing of Ademola Lookman from RB Leipzig

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fulham secure the loan signing of ademola lookman from rb leipzig

Fulham have confirmed the capture of winger Ademola Lookman on loan from RB Leipzig.

Lookman will join the Cottagers on an initial loan deal for a fee of around £2million and has sealed a return to the Premier League following his £22.5m move from Everton to Germany last summer.

Winger Lookman, 22, said: ‘I’m glad to have it over the line and done now. I’m glad I can be here to help the team.

Fulham have completed the season-long loan signing of Ademola Lookman from RB Leipzig

Fulham have completed the season-long loan signing of Ademola Lookman from RB Leipzig

Fulham have completed the season-long loan signing of Ademola Lookman from RB Leipzig

Former Everton forward Lookman returns to the Premier League a year after joining Leipzig

Former Everton forward Lookman returns to the Premier League a year after joining Leipzig

Former Everton forward Lookman returns to the Premier League a year after joining Leipzig

‘After the conversations I had with Scott Parker, I got a great feeling, that’s the working relationship I want to have. He’s young and hungry and I’m young and hungry as well so it’s a good match.’

Fulham are braced for a busy few days ahead of the closure of the transfer market on Monday and after starting the season with three successive league defeats.

They are among the clubs keen on Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek who could leave Stamford Bridge on loan.

Aston Villa’s capture of Ross Barkley has now ruled out Villa Park as a potential destination for Loftus-Cheek due to Premier League loan rules.

West Ham are also interested in Loftus-Cheek while Southampton anticipate his wages will be out of their reach.

Lookman has been restricted to mainly substitute appearances since his move to Germany

Lookman has been restricted to mainly substitute appearances since his move to Germany

Lookman has been restricted to mainly substitute appearances since his move to Germany

Fulham are among the club interested in Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Fulham are among the club interested in Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Fulham are among the club interested in Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek

The Cottagers are also desperate for central defensive reinforcements after shipping 10 goals in those three defeats.

After apologising for Fulham’s 3-0 home loss to Aston Villa, Fulham’s director of football Tony Khan said: ‘We’ve looked to add centre-backs since [the play-off final at] Wembley.

‘I’m sorry we haven’t yet as two got Covid and we lost a free we thought was close and had another issue with a fourth centre-back. I promise players in and better efforts from this squad.’

Sassuolo’s Brazilian defender Marlon is understood to have failed the medical.

Fulham, along with West Ham, are also understood to have considered Lyon’s Joachim Andersen though Torino, managed by his old Sampdoria coach Marco Giampaolo, are favourites to sign the Danish defender. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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