Sir Ian Terence Botham, OBE, widely regarded as one of the greatest all-rounders in cricket history, was an aggressive right-handed batsman and, as a right arm fast-medium bowler, was noted for his swing bowling. Here are some very interesting facts about the former English cricketer:
He was born Ian Terence Botham, on November 24, 1955, in Heswell, Cheshire, England, to Herbert Leslie Botham and Violet Marie. His father was in Fleet Air Arm and his mother a nurse.
He is the eldest of three children, with younger brother and sister. He has six grandchildren of whom, 19 year old Jim, plays rugby for Wales.
In summer of 1977, his outlook on life changed. After being injured, he was on his way to physiotherapist and took wrong turn into children’s ward with leukemia. After he was made aware of the condition and paucity for fund for those children, he started the charity walk and raised more than £1 million in 1985.
On December 2017, he had completed his 18th and final charity walk in Australia. His 32 years charity work has been raised over £30 million for range of charities, starting with leukemia, Diabetes and other research works.
He attended Milford Junior School and later Bucklers Mead Comprehensive School. While at school he was good at football and captained their school under-16 cricket team when he was thirteen.
With both his parents being cricketer, he would accompany his father to the ground and would turnout for any team that was short of players. By the age of twelve he would play occasionally for Yeovil Cricket Club’s second team.
He made his debut for Somerset County Cricket Club’s youth team as a thirteen year old in an under-15 match against Wiltshire and scored 80 runs. By the age of 16, Botham left school to pursue cricket with Somerset County.
As he was considered too young to be a professional, he was employed as ground staff at Lords. Apart from practice nets, he had to clean the pavilion windows, pushing the roller, selling the scorecards, pressing electronic button on the scoreboards and rushing bowling analyses to the dressing room.
Although he played for England as an all-rounder, at the start of his career he was not considered as a bowler even while playing county’s second eleven until Tom Cartwright, saw the talent in him and coached him in art of swing bowling.
On September 02, 1973, he made his senior team debut for Somerset at the age of 17 years, against Sussex, in the List ‘A’ John Player League. He scored two runs and had bowling figure of 3 for 22 runs in a low scoring game.
Botham made his county championship debut along with Viv Richards, from Antigua on May 08, 1974, against Lancashire. He did not have a spectacular match scoring 13 runs and bowled three over for 15 runs.
On June 12, 1974, in the Benson & Hedges Cup, against Hampshire at Taunton, he made valiant 45 not out coming in at seven down to help his county win by a wicket. He continued batting despite losing three teeth from Andy Robert’s bouncer and was declared man of the match.
He took his first ten wicket haul in a county championship against Glocestershire with 11 for 150 and scored his maiden first-class century against Nottinghamshire on August 03, 1976, when he scored 167 not out, leading Somerset to six wicket chasing 301 for victory.
Botham was the youngest player at 20 years to make his debut for England on August 26, 1976, in a One Day Limited over International against West Indies. He scored one run and took his first international wicket that of Lawrence Rowe for bowling analysis of 1 for 26 in three overs.
In the winter of 1976-77, season he was signed-up by University of Melbourne Cricket Club, to play Grade cricket. It was during this season, that his famous spat with Australian, Ian Chappell started, when he was supposed to have pushed Chappell of the stool after a cricket related argument broke out.
On July 28, 1977, he made his test debut in the Trent Bridge test against Australia. He scored 25 and took five for 74 in first innings and went wicket less conceding 60 run in the second essay.
He ended the 1977, season with 88 wickets and scored 738 run, to be named ‘Young Cricketer of the Year’ by the Cricket Writer’s Club and was selected as one of the ‘Wisden Cricketers of the Year.’
He was part of England tour of New Zealand in 1978 and cemented his place with his all-round performance. He scored 212 runs with one century in five innings with an average of 53.00 and took 17 wickets for an average of 18.29. He also recorded his career best 7 for 58 against Otago in a tour match in that tour.
In the second test at Christchurch in 1978, he was involved in the infamous ‘I’ve run you out.’ When England wanted quick run to push for victory Geoff Boycott was slow in scoring runs and it was decided by seniors in the team to run him out. Botham called for the most improbable run and set off with Boycott stranded in the middle.
Though England lost the three match series during the tour of Australia, Botham established himself as a world-class all-rounder. He scored 187 runs including a century in six innings for average of 37.40 and took 19 wickets.
In the one-off commemorative Test match against India, in February 1980, he became the first player in a test to score a century and take ten wickets in a match. He had a match analysis of 6 for 58 in the first innings, 7 for 48, in the second innings and 114 in a lone innings he batted.
He was first appointed as the captain of England, for the series against West Indies in 1980. He went on to lead for another eleven more test without any success drawing eight and losing four. He had one score of 57 in the first test and was the high point of his batting as captain.
After relinquishing his captaincy, his form returned in the 1981 Ashes series. His first innings bowling figure of 6 for 95 and second innings effort of 149 not out paved the way for victory in third test. As England won the series 3-1, he was named Man of the Series after scoring 399 runs, taking 34 wickets and holding 12 catches.
In the 1982, season he recorded his highest test score of 208 against India, in the third test at Kennington Oval. He went on to accumulate 1,241 runs with an average of 44.32 and took 66 wickets at the low average of 22.98 in the first-class matches of the season.
In the Lord test of 1984, he recorded his best and worst performances against West Indies. He had score of 30 and took 8 for 103 in the first innings. In the second innings he scored 81 and had bowling figure of none for 117 in 20 overs.
Botham was suspended for smoking cannabis in 1986. After initially denying the charges, he admitted to the same in an interview and served 63-day ban.
While playing for Queensland in the 1987-88, season he was fined $800 by a magistrate and $5,000 by the Australian Cricket Board for assaulting fellow passenger who intervened in an argument. He was subsequently sacked by the state.
In 1992, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his service to cricket and for charity work in the Queen’s Birthday honors and on October 10, 2007, he was invested a Knight Bachelor.
His test career which spanned for 16 seasons recorded 5,200 runs with 14 centuries and took 383 wickets with 120 catches in 102 matches. He also scored 2,113 runs and taking 145 wickets with 36 catches in 116 limited overs Internationals.
In 1976, he married Kathryn Waller and they have a son Liam, a daughter, Sarah. He has written many books including his autobiography, ‘Don’t Tell Kath’ and ‘Head On.’