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Thursday, May 20, 1999 Published at 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK


Botham, Lamb end legal battle

Allan Lamb and Ian Botham at a previous hearing

Cricketers Ian Botham and Allan Lamb face a huge legal bill after ending a battle to overturn a libel victory by former Pakistan captain Imran Khan.

The 1996 trial, branded a "complete exercise in futility" by the judge, left Botham facing an estimated legal bill of 260,000 and Lamb one for 140,000.

The two former England stars were due to return to the High Court next month to appeal against a ruling that Imran had not labelled them "racist, ill-educated and lacking in class".

A statement on Thursday said they were halting their appeal "in best the interests of cricket".

But a solicitor for the two men said that the spiralling legal costs of the court action had played a part in their decision.

Naynesh Desai, of London firm Meer Care & Desai, said: "There was a realisation on the parts of Mr Botham and Mr Lamb that a lot of time and money was being wasted on this matter."

[ image:  ]
Legendary all-rounder Botham and batsman Lamb launched their libel action against the former Pakistani captain over comments they allege were made in two articles written about ball-tampering.

Both England men also sued over an article in an Indian newspaper, India Today, in which they claimed the Pakistani Test player had called them racists and attributed their attitudes to lack of education, class and upbringing.

But a jury accepted by a majority of 10-2 Imran Khan's claims that he had been misquoted and was only trying to defend himself after admitting that he once tampered with a ball in a county match 18 years ago.

Both England players announced shortly after the case that they intended to appeal against the ruling, saying it had come as a "great shock".

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