Ian Botham

Ian Botham

Ian Botham in Heswall, Cheshire, was born on 24 November 1955. His father was stationed with the Fleet Air Arm in Northern Ireland, before he moved to Yeovil, where he worked at Westland Helicopters.

While attending Buckler's Mead Comprehensive School he represented Somerset's Under-15s cricket team. He was also a talented footballer but rejected the chance to join Crystal Palace.

Botham joined the ground-staff of Somerset County Cricket Club and began playing for the first team in 1974. An outstanding all-rounder, Botham made his Test debut for England on 28 July 1977 in the Third Test against Australia.

Botham soon became the star of the England team and in 1980 he was appointed captain. This seemed to affect his form and in the next 13 tests he failed to score one half-century. Botham was sacked from the job after the Second Test of the 1981 Ashes series. However, Botham retained his place in the side.

In the first innings of the Third Test, Botham took 6 for 95 and top scored with 50 in England's total of 174. Australia enforced the follow-on and when England reached 135 for 7, an innings defeat seemed inevitable. The bookmakers, Ladbrokes, offered 500-1 against England winning the match. With the help of Graham Dilley (56) and Chris Old (29) Botham stayed at the crease long enough to score 149 not out. England only had a lead of 124 and Australia was still hot favorites to win the match. However, after inspired bowling from Botham and Willis, Australia scored only 111 runs in the second innings, and England won the Third Test.

Botham also did well in the Fourth Test. Australia needed 151 to win when Botham took 5 wickets for 1 run in 28 balls to give England the win by 29 runs. He scored 118 to help England win the Fifth Test and the series 3-1. Botham was named man of the series, scoring 399 runs and taking 34 wickets.

In 1985 resigned from Somerset after his two close friends, Viv Richards and Joel Garner, did not have their contracts renewed. He joined Worcestershire and continued to play for England until 1991. in 102 Test matches he took 383 wickets and scored 5,200 runs.

Botham joined Durham in 1992. By the time he retired 1993 he had scored 19,399 runs, took 1,172 wickets at 27.22 and held 354 catches.

Since his retirement Botham has worked as a television commentator. He has also become an important fundraiser undertaking a total of 11 long-distance charity walks. His first, in 1985, was a 900-mile trek from John O'Groats to Land's End. Over the years he has raised more than ten million pounds for charity.