Cricket: Indian board slams Botham's Indian Premier League scrapping call

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Organisers of cricket's Indian Premier League hit back angrily on Friday at former England all-rounder Ian Botham's call for the tournament to be scrapped, criticising him for having the "temerity" to issue lectures.

Delivering a keynote speech in London earlier this week, Botham said the IPL was "too powerful" for cricket's long-term good.

But Sanjay Patel, secretary of the Indian board (BCCI), said on Friday that Botham was in no position to take the moral high ground after his involvement in disgraced Texas financier Allen Stanford's ill-fated T20 competition between the West Indies and England.

"I can still visualise the photo of Botham sitting in the front when Stanford went to England - and he has the temerity to talk about IPL," Patel told the Press Trust of India news agency. "We don't want his advice. We have enough top players like (former Indian players) Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Kapil Dev and Rahul Dravid to advise us."

Botham was one of several cricketing legends who appeared alongside Stanford at the 2008 launch of his competition which was cancelled after the first edition following allegations of fraud against the Texan. Stanford was later sentenced to 110 years in prison for heading up a US$7 billion Ponzi scheme in a verdict which was seen as a huge embarrassment for the England cricket board.

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