LONDON,, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 03rd Nov, 2016 ) - England great Ian Botham is poised to become the new chairman of cash-strapped county side Durham, the northeast club announced Thursday. Durham were relegated from the First Division of the English County Championship following the end of last season for receiving a #3.8 million ($4.8 million, 4.3 million Euros) bail-out from from the England and Wales cricket Board. They were also hit with a 48-point penalty that will apply at the start of next season, as well as having their Riverside ground stripped of Test match status.
Botham, who ended his playing career with Durham and remains based in the northeast, intends to take up his new post after returning from commentating on England's upcoming tour of India for Sky television. "I am very privileged to be invited to accept the role of chairman at Durham County Cricket Club but it is important that we all recognise the size of the task ahead," Botham said in a club statement. "I was fortunate enough to play for the club during its first professional season and have always taken a keen interest in the club's fortunes and many successes," the former all-rounder added.
"As someone who lives locally it is an honour to have the opportunity to contribute to the club's future, to look forward and to continue to produce the talent that will serve both the county and England well in the years ahead," the ex-England captain explained. "We will work closely with the England and Wales Cricket board and Durham County Council in the months ahead as we develop a plan to ensure continued success for this great club." Durham only made their debut as a first-class county in 1992 -- when Botham was a member of the squad. But they have been crowned county champions three times during the past eight years and produced several England players, including Stephen Harmison, Paul Collingwood and Mark Wood.