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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 April, 2005, 08:42 GMT 09:42 UK
Botham boosts Galle cricket kids
Ian Botham in Galle
Botham passes on his cricket knowledge to Sri Lankan kids

England cricket legend Ian Botham has begun his visit to Sri Lanka to visit areas devastated by the tsunami.

He visited the southern town of Galle and headed to the cricket stadium which was destroyed in the disaster.

Botham held a cricket master-class with 50 youngsters aged 11 to 18, giving them batting and bowling tips.

Former Sri Lanka skipper Hashan Tillakaratne, now executive director of Cricket Aid, said: "It is a wonderful sight to see him here."

Botham is representing the Laureus Sports Award and the Shane Warne Foundation, a charity set up by the Australian spinner to raise money for sick and underprivileged children.

And he is also backing Cricket Aid, an organisation set up by Sri Lanka Cricket to help tsunami victims.
I can't believe what I'm seeing. It is like scenes from a disaster movie
Ian Botham
A patch of the field which used to be the cricket pitch in Galle was cleared so selected youngsters could take part in the demonstration.

Botham was moved by the devastation in the area.

"I can't believe what I'm seeing. It is like scenes from a disaster movie," Botham said.

Botham, 49, was one of the finest all-rounders to play international cricket, scoring 5,200 runs and taking 383 wickets in 102 Test matches.

He is also renowned for his charity work, having undertaken numerous long-distance walks to raise money for causes such as leukaemia research and children's hospitals.

In February, Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne visited Galle and promised help through his foundation.

Warne, Test cricket's leading wicket-taker ahead of Murali, captured his 500th scalp in Galle when Australia toured Sri Lanka in 2004.

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