Ian Botham

 28 Jun 2017  Blog

As a retired test cricketer, Ian Botham will always be considered an inspiring and flamboyant sportsman - an entertaining all-rounder who famously led England to victory in the 1981 Ashes, when the team staged an unlikely comeback.

He was awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours in 1992 and in 2007 was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours for his services to cricket.


Early life

Born in Heswall on 24th November 1955, Sir Ian Terence Botham OBE comes from a cricketing family. After they moved to Yeovil when Ian was two, his aeronautical engineer father Herbert played for Westland Sports Club and his mother Violet for a nursing services team in Sherborne. His interest started pre-school, when he would watch pupils at Yeovil Boys' Grammar School play cricket.

At four years old, he played his first cricket at Milford Junior School and at the age of nine, he played cricket and football for the school's teams - most of the other players were 11. He also watched his father play for Westland Sports Club and was often drafted in to field. After playing for Somerset under 15s, Ian went on to play for them after leaving school, making his first team debut in 1974 aged 18.



Ian played for Somerset for 12 seasons until 1986. After leaving Somerset, he played for Worcestershire for five seasons.

His Test debut for England in 1977 was to be the start of his successful international career. He always made a massive impact at the most important games, as he could score at a fast rate with tremendous power, often hitting the ball right out of the grounds.

He was made England captain in 1980 but resigned the captaincy in 1981 after a poor start to the Ashes series. In the third test at Headingley, Australia scored 401-9, with England only scoring 174; Botham with the top score of 50 not out.

During the follow-on on the Saturday evening, the odds of England winning were 500/1. As the team were staring defeat in the face, Botham went in to bat on Sunday, with England at 105-5. Suddenly, Botham let fly after Graham Dilley joined him in the middle, restoring England's pride and scoring 149 not out. After Dilley scored 56 and Chris Old scored 29, England won the classic game by 18 runs, with Bob Willis having bowled the Australians out for 111. This has gone down in the history books as England's greatest cricketing comeback of all time.

England won the next test match by 29 runs, when Botham's outstanding bowling took five wickets for one run. At the Old Trafford test, England won the Ashes and Botham was man of the match after scoring 118 runs, including six sixes.

After winning the final test at the Oval, England took the series 3-1. Botham became a national hero and was named man of the series, thanks to his 399 runs and 34 wickets.


Other interests

BBC Sports Personality of the year 1981, Botham has undertaken several tough charity walks from Land’s End to John O Groats, raising a lot of money for worthy causes. He was first motivated after being treated in hospital for a broken toe, when he accidentally walked into a ward for seriously ill children. He was so moved by their plight, he began his charity fundraising endeavours.

On retiring from playing, he has worked as a television cricket commentator for Sky Sports. In his private life, he married Kathryn Waller - now Lady Botham - in 1976 and the couple have three children - Sarah, Becky and Liam. Botham received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004 and was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2009.

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