Sir Ian Botham: Durham have County Championship point to prove

Keaton Jennings and Ben Stokes
England pair Keaton Jennings and Ben Stokes remain with Durham despite relegation

Durham chairman Sir Ian Botham says his club have a point to prove after being relegated from County Championship Division One for financial problems.

They begin their Division Two campaign against Nottinghamshire on Friday with a 48-point deduction.

"You can feel sorry for yourself and sulk, or say 'right, we'll show you'," Botham told BBC Sport.

"It won't be any fun for teams coming to Durham. We will be the side the rest are looking over their shoulder for."

  • You can hear the full interview with Sir Ian Botham at 10:30 BST on Friday on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, followed by ball-by-ball commentary from Durham v Nottinghamshire.

Former England all-rounder Botham took charge at Chester-le-Street after Durham were punished for their financial issues.

The county, who finished fourth in Division One last year, accepted a £3.8m financial aid package.

As well as the County Championship sanctions, they were given a four-point penalty in the T20 Blast, a two-point deduction in the One-Day Cup and stripped of the right to host Test matches.

"It's hard that the players are on minus 48 points because you are penalising them when they have done absolutely nothing wrong," added Botham, who ended his playing career at Durham.

"They have all stood together. We have lost Scott Borthwick and Mark Stoneman to Surrey but the rest are still here with a point to prove."

Durham, who only became a first-class county in 1992, won three County Championships between 2008 and 2013.

"If we don't get out of Division Two, it won't be for the lack of trying," added Botham. "We could get off to a flyer and be in contention within four matches. I think that anything is possible.

"I don't give up and I don't think the players will give up. The supporters won't. Everyone at Durham is pulling together."

Top Stories