Sir Ian Botham is ready to school Ben Stokes in how his life will change following the Ashes after describing the England all-rounder as “public property”.

Stokes’ remarkable match-winning knock of 135 not out at Headingley prompted comparisons to Botham’s own efforts in 1981 that cemented him as a superstar.

Botham, the chairman at Durham, where Stokes plays his county cricket, knows the pressure the 28-year-old faces after also delivering in incredible fashion in July’s Cricket World Cup final.

But England great Botham is confident Stokes will know he can dish out further pain to Australia in this series after recovering from the epic third Test in Leeds.

The 63-year-old borrowed an Australian phrase by saying Stokes “has got wood” on the tourists ahead of the fourth match at Old Trafford, meaning he has the competitive upper hand.

“He is ‘the Special One’ and I intend to call him that for the rest of his career,” Botham told the Telegraph, repeating a moniker he used on Sky Sports on Sunday.

“He wants to be the best. He wants to be in the oven. He wants to be in the hottest place in the kitchen and he wants to take them all on. That is his character.

“It changed my life overnight. I think Ben’s life will be the same. He will have no private life. He has to get used to that and so do the family. He is public property but it is a great place to be in for the long term.”


Botham added: “I will take him out for dinner and have a bottle of wine and discuss it if he wants to. I think he is the kind of character who wants to improve on everything he does.

“He will wake up – it might take 48 hours to sink in – and he will think, ‘I can do it, and I will do it again’.

“He has got them. He has got wood on Australia and, I tell you, there is no better feeling as an England cricketer.”