Durham CCC can overturn 48-point deduction and secure promotion back to Division One this season - new chairman Sir Ian Botham

Ian Botham.
Ian Botham.
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New chairman Sir Ian Botham believes Durham County Cricket Club can overturn their 48 point deficit and secure promotion back to Division One at the first time of asking.

The county officially announced the England legend in his new position at a press conference at Emirates Riverside this morning.

Botham returns to the club, where he spent seasons as a player at the end of his illustrious cricketing career, with the club at a low ebb.

Durham were relegated last summer after seeking financial help from the from the England and Wales Cricket Board.

As a result the club will start the Division Two campaign with a 48 point deduction, as well as have to deal with a revised salary cap for three seasons, which will be decided by the ECB on a year-by-year basis.

They also have to deal with a four-point deduction in the T20 Blast as well as a two-point sanction in the One-Day Cup.

But despite all of that, buoyant Beefy is determined not to dwell on sanctions imposed on them by the ECB.

Instead he prefers to focus on the fact that he thinks Durham, who have retained stars Keaton Jennings and Ben Stokes despite demotion, will prove to be the strongest side at that level.

And that two early wins will change the complexion at Chester-le-Street for the better.

"There are two ways to look at it - I can sit here and whinge about the 48 points or I can look and say it is two wins," said Botham of the County Championship deduction.

"The team are more than good enough to get those two early wins.

"Then Division Two - they will be the best side in the division by some distance.

"At the end of the day we could be playing minor counties but we are not.

"We are a club that will prosper."

Botham said of the challenge ahead: "It is something that is new - a challenge for myself - but something I am looking forward to.

"The side has pretty much stayed together - that shows their intent.

"We think we can get back into Division One very quickly."

Botham admits that despite his considerable on field experience he will leave cricketing matters to those in power.

Instead, he will try to work off the field to get the club pushing in the right direction.

Part of his early work, balanced between his other commitments, including punditry on Sky Sports, will be to help the club reconnect with the community around it.

"We have to make the club more accessible to families and the community," he said.

"We have resources around us.

"Northumberland has produce fine cricketers in the past and the record of Durham speaks for itself.

"I started here at the end of my career when the club was just starting out. I see myself as a local. And I know the people here deserve a successful cricket club.

"With the council and ECB help we are starting on a pretty level field, apart from the 48 points."