Sport: 'That's it - I'm off!' Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower close their Sky Sports careers by clinking wine glasses after 'being retired' by 'ageist' broadcast bosses as Piers Morgan leads tributes to 'two absolute legends of the game' - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Sport'That's it - I'm off!' Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower close their Sky Sports careers by clinking wine glasses after 'being retired' by 'ageist' broadcast bosses as Piers Morgan leads tributes to 'two absolute legends of the game'

11:30  16 september  2019
11:30  16 september  2019 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower bring Sky Sports careers to a close by clinking wine glasses . And the fingers will instead be pointed at Rashford and whether he is capable of leading the line for United. Gareth Southgate will be more than happy if Abraham is still

Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower bring Sky Sports careers to a close by clinking wine glasses . Gower and Botham sign off after covering final Ashes Test on Sky Sports together by clinking wine glasses Pair oversaw England win at the The Oval to draw series 2 - 2 .

'That's it - I'm off!' Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower close their Sky Sports careers by clinking wine glasses after 'being retired' by 'ageist' broadcast bosses as Piers Morgan leads tributes to 'two absolute legends of the game' © Getty (Photo by Philip Brown/Getty Images)

Sir Ian Botham brought the curtain down on his Sky cricket commentary career this afternoon by swigging from a glass of Chardonnay before declaring: 'That's it, I'm off!'.

The legendary ex-England all-rounder and his broadcasting partner David Gower clinked their wine glasses this afternoon to toast 'an extraordinary 20 years' after their final match at the Oval.

Both men have been staples of the cricketing world since their playing debuts in the 1970s, but were - in their own words - 'being retired' after the TV network did not renew their contracts.

Although Gower has blamed 'ageism' for his departure, he looked back fondly at his time with Sky after England won today's final Ashes Test.

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Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower bring Sky Sports careers to a close by I ’ m afraid it doesn’t work like that. Daniel Farke’ s side defended deep, stayed compact, didn’t let the Gower and Botham sign off after covering final Ashes Test on Sky Sports together by clinking

Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower bring Sky Sports careers to a close by clinking wine glasses . 'Teams are already afraid of him .. they are scared of what he can do': Nicolas Pepe has put fear into Arsenal' s rivals, according to Nwankwo Kanu.

'That's it - I'm off!' Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower close their Sky Sports careers by clinking wine glasses after 'being retired' by 'ageist' broadcast bosses as Piers Morgan leads tributes to 'two absolute legends of the game' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited While England were celebrating their Ashes Test victory, Sir Ian Botham (left) and David Gower both themselves former players, reflected on their time leading Sky Sports' coverage

Speaking after Australia were bowled out, Gower, 62, said: 'It's been extraordinary. What a year it's been, what a twenty years - dare I say it - it's been as well.'

Botham's open floral shirt contrasted with the white collar and tie sported by Gower, who suggested that his colleague was more relaxed than usual.

Botham: From a swashbuckling Ashes win to a ban for smoking dope

Although on the cricket pitch he was a deadly bowler, the 63-year-old all-rounder is one of the larger-than-life characters to have ever played the game.

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' That ' s it - I ' m off !' Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower bring Sky Sports careers to a close by clinking wine glasses . ' That ' s it - I ' m off !' Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he England win fifth Ashes Test by 135 runs despite But two more Tests produced average results.

Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower bring Sky Sports careers to a close by clinking wine glasses . 'To get that was surprising for me ,' he says. ' It was my first game at home and it was as if I had been there for 10 years. ' I am really keen to show what I can do.

As a youth player in 1977, Botham flew into a rage when he heard ex-Australia captain Ian Chappell mocking England at the bar.

The Englishman clattered his fist into Chappell, sending the Australian flying over a table before chasing him outside.

But the clash did not stop Botham rising to become one of England's top stars.

His meteoric rise culminated in an epic Ashes showdown in 1981 when 'Beefy' inspired England to victory.

'That's it - I'm off!' Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower close their Sky Sports careers by clinking wine glasses after 'being retired' by 'ageist' broadcast bosses as Piers Morgan leads tributes to 'two absolute legends of the game' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited England captain David Gower lifts the Ashes urn in 1981 in front of team-mate Ian Botham

In that series, Botham outshone his teammates, taking 34 wickets and scored 399 runs.

But controversy found the cricketer three years later when he sparked a near diplomatic war with Pakistan, after describing the country as 'Botham once described Pakistan as 'the kind of place to send your mother-in-law for a month'.

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' That ' s it - I ' m off !' Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower bring Sky Sports careers to a close by clinking wine glasses . 'There is no better time to seize the opportunity after an incredible summer of cricket,' said the sports minister, Nigel Adams, but he 's wrong.

The Asian nation's authorities were reportedly furious at the remarks.

And in 1986, Botham was banned from playing for two months after revealing he had taken cannabis two years earlier.

He had previously denied all knowledge of the initial speculation.

A year later, he was charged with assault after allegedly shoving a passenger on a flight to Perth during a row.

'That's it - I'm off!' Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower close their Sky Sports careers by clinking wine glasses after 'being retired' by 'ageist' broadcast bosses as Piers Morgan leads tributes to 'two absolute legends of the game' © Getty (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

Yet despite the controversies, Botham is widely regarded as one of England's all-time greats and was named in English Cricket Board's top XI side.

It has not yet been confirmed who will replace Botham and Gower, but current Sky broadcasters Rob Key and Ian Ward have been touted as front-runners in the race to succeed the veteran duo.

The network's Isa Guha was rumoured to be offered a bigger role in Sky's coverage, but has now been poached by the BBC, according to the Sunday Times.

Gower had previously hit out the decision to get rid of him and Botham as being marred with 'an element of implied ageism'.

But he appeared in good spirits today as he signed off from the Sky commentary team.

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Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower bring Sky Sports careers to a close by clinking wine glasses . Usually commentators drift away after play but we had an impromptu party on Friday with the help of Sir Ian Botham ’ s wine and with Mikey Holding holding court with stories

Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower bring Sky Sports careers to a close by clinking wine glasses . ' He is so good on the pitch and he lifts everyone off it . He has so much quality despite now being 38 years old. You can see it when he plays.'

The ex-England captain said: 'There's an air warm glow, and air of farewell. You can tell that the various different dress codes have changed a little bit over the course of five days.

'We must have got different memos this morning, but at least we can say to each other 'cheers'.'

'That's it - I'm off!' Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower close their Sky Sports careers by clinking wine glasses after 'being retired' by 'ageist' broadcast bosses as Piers Morgan leads tributes to 'two absolute legends of the game' © Getty (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)

He then laughed when Sir Ian put down his microphone and said: 'Anyway, I'm off!'.

The 63-year-old all rounder, known by his nickname Beefy, will continue to play an active role in the sport through his chairmanship of Durham Cricket Club, while also running his Botham Wine range.

After the news broke of his forced retirement from Sky, he told the Mirror: 'It has been great fun and I can't thank Sky enough for keeping me close to the game I love.

'I'll still be watching when I can and I'll pop up at the odd game, ­especially in Australia where my wine business takes me.'

Sky celebrated Gower and Botham's contributions with a montage of their finest moments; driving speedboats, playing polo and producing comedy gold in the commentary box.

Their voices became synonymous with the sport and the latest unforgettable summer of action.

Gower signed off the broadcast by announcing: 'He'll be selling wine, I'll be outside the Garret with The Big Issue by the end of the night. That's goodnight.'

Gower: How career and controversy reached rare heights

Often hailed as one of the most elegant batsman of the 1980s, Gower sat among the stars of the cricketing world.

Racking up 117 Test match appearances, he rose to become one of the most capped players for England.

'That's it - I'm off!' Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower close their Sky Sports careers by clinking wine glasses after 'being retired' by 'ageist' broadcast bosses as Piers Morgan leads tributes to 'two absolute legends of the game' © Getty (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

In 1985, at the pinnacle of his career, he led his team to clinch a famous victory in the Ashes.

But a year later, Gower was dropped as England captain after two consecutive 5-0 thrashings by the West Indies.

And in 1987, the ex-captain refused to play in the World Cup because he did not want to travel to India and Pakistan.

In 1989, Gower left journalists gobsmacked when he swanned out of a press conference citing that he has theatre tickets.

But by far his most infamous moment came after being dropped from a game against Queensland when Gower and John Morris hired a Tiger Moth plane and flew over the cricket ground during the match.

Both players were fined a hefty £1,000 for the sulking antic, which was widely rounded upon.

Yet it did not taint his impressive career and, in 2009, he was inducted into the ICC Hall Of Fame

'That's it - I'm off!' Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower close their Sky Sports careers by clinking wine glasses after 'being retired' by 'ageist' broadcast bosses as Piers Morgan leads tributes to 'two absolute legends of the game' © Getty (Photo by David Ashdown/Getty Images)

But his final Ashes test in the commentary box was not plain sailing, as the broadcaster accidentally swore with his microphone on.

On Saturday while recording live, he muttered: 'I haven't got a f****** clue.'

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Addressing his retirement, the fourth highest English Test run scorer of all time said: 'I've had a brilliant time with Sky. I'm sorry to be going.

'I didn't have the right mentality for coaching and I like talking, I like language. The broadcasting felt right.

'And I think there's a lot left in the tank. I want to stay in broadcasting because I think I'm quite good at it and I love it.'

Piers Morgan also paid tribute to the pair, tweeting: 'Amid the joy of a great summer of England cricket, a moment of real sadness.

'The final seconds of commentary from two absolute legends of the game. Thanks @BeefyBotham @David215Gower⁦ - you guys have been fantastic.'

Befitting their status as iconic former players, Sir Ian is known to be the highest earner on the Sky team with a salary believed to be in excess of £500,000, while Gower is also one of the better rewarded.

The gradual renewing of the broadcaster's roster is expected to see not just the continued presence of more female voices, but the further elevation of Ian Ward, while Rob Key is another whose star is rising.

English pace bowler Stuart Broad is expected to enjoy a swift transition from the dressing room to the commentary box, although given his form this summer that day may be further away than seemed the case a year ago.

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Related: The 20 best Ashes moments of all time [Read Sport]

'That's it - I'm off!' Sir Ian Botham walks off air as he and David Gower close their Sky Sports careers by clinking wine glasses after 'being retired' by 'ageist' broadcast bosses as Piers Morgan leads tributes to 'two absolute legends of the game'

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