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Sir Ian Botham’s early date with coronavirus

Legend: Botham PICTURE: REX

SIR Ian Botham claims what he thought was ‘a bad case of the flu’ early this year was in fact coronavirus.

The legendary all-rounder, 64, believes the virus was circulating long before lockdown began in March.

‘The thing to remember is that six months ago no one even knew what this was, hadn’t heard of it,’ he said.

‘I’ve actually had it. I had it at the end of December, beginning of January, and I thought I had a bad case of flu.

‘It’s amazing how long it has been around, we don’t know all the details.’ International cricket is set to resume on July 8 when England face West Indies behind closed doors at the Ageas Bowl, with the county game yesterday given the nod by the England and Wales Cricket Board for matches to be held from August 1.

Speaking before that announcement, Botham, who is chairman of Durham, said: ‘Speaking to the boys at Durham, they are back in training, they are very, very keen to get out there and play, as any young sportsman is.’