Cricket legend Ian Botham has been appointed the UK’s trade envoy to Australia, the country he played against in two Ashes series to become a household name.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said Lord Botham, who was made a peer to the UK’s unelected upper house of parliament last year, would “bat for British business Down Under”.
Britain and Australia announced a free-trade deal in June which London said would eliminate tariffs on all British goods.
Lord Botham famously turned around a Test match against Australia in 1981 with a spectacular batting display that made him a hero at home, and even won respect in Australia.
“Ian will bat for UK business Down Under and help them seize the opportunities created by our historic trade deal,” Britain's trade minister, Liz Truss, said on Twitter.
He led the England Test cricket team between 1980 and 1981, a stint that included two Ashes series against Australia.
Lord Botham has been a critic of the EU in the past, and supported the campaign to leave the trading bloc in 2016.
Lord Botham is one of 10 trade envoys the Government hopes will help in “delivering an ambitious global trade agenda”.
“Our trade envoys play a key role in delivering our ambitious global trade agenda, and I am delighted the prime minister has appointed 10 trade envoys who will boost opportunities for British businesses in some of the world’s fastest-growing markets,” Ms Truss said.
“By boosting exports, promoting inward investment and creating high-value, high-paying jobs, our trade envoys will help us build back better from Covid-19, ensuring every part of the UK benefits from our trade strategy.”
The other nine new envoys in the trade team are all parliamentarians, sitting in either the House of Lords or as MPs, and have been selected from different political parties.
Baroness Hoey has been appointed to Ghana, Stephen Timms MP to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, David Mundell MP to New Zealand and Mark Eastwood MP to Pakistan.
Marco Longhi MP was appointed to Brazil, Conor Burns MP to Canada, Baron Walney to Tanzania, Felicity Buchan MP to Iceland and Norway, and Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP to Cameroon.
The roles are all unpaid and voluntary. They bring the total number of trade envoys who help support the UK Government’s “trade and investment agenda” to 36, covering 76 countries.
Trade policy minister Greg Hands said: “From Norway to New Zealand, Pakistan to Brazil, our trade envoys will help increase UK trade with some of the world’s most exciting and dynamic markets and showcase the UK as a great place to invest.”