Ian Botham


Ian Botham : biography

24 November 1955 –

Botham’s batting – although never the equal of his bowling abilities – declined as well, with a batting average of 38.80 for his first 51 Tests substantially higher than the 28.87 he managed in his last 51 Tests, again a number that would be considered unsatisfactory for a specialist batsman in most Test sides. In the first 5 years of Botham’s Test career, when not playing as captain, he scored 2557 runs at an average of 49.17 including 11 centuries and a highest score of 208, took 196 wickets at an average of 21.28 including nineteen 5 wicket hauls and held 50 catches. Such figures denote a player who would easily maintain a place in any Test side as a specialist batsman or bowler alone. During this period his reputation as one of the leading Test all-rounders was firmly established.

He was renowned as a big-hitting batsman, though with a classical technique of playing straight, and as a fast-medium paced swing bowler who could be very effective when atmospheric conditions favoured his style.


Botham holds a number of Test records as an all-rounder, including being the fastest (in terms of matches) to achieve the "doubles" of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets, 2,000 runs and 200 wickets, and 3,000 runs and 300 wickets. He briefly held the world record for the greatest number of Test wickets, although his tally has subsequently been passed by several specialist bowlers. He still holds the record for the highest number of Test wickets taken by an England player (383).

Botham scored a century and took 5 wickets in an innings in the same Test match on 5 occasions; no-one else has managed this feat more than twice. In 1980, playing against India, he became the first player to score a century and take ten wickets in a Test match (Alan Davidson was the first to score 100 runs and take 10 wickets in a Test but that did not include a century).

During the 1981 Ashes, Botham set a record of six sixes in a single Ashes Test Match at Old Trafford. That record remained unbroken until 7 August 2005 when Andrew Flintoff scored five in the first innings and four in the second innings of the second Test at Edgbaston, and again until 12 September 2005, when Kevin Pietersen hit seven sixes in the second innings of the last Test at The Oval.

One Day Internationals

Botham’s ODI career included 116 games from 1976 to 1992. He made his debut on 26 August against the West Indies at Scarborough. He finished with a batting average of 23.21 (nine 50s, no 100s, cumulative score of 2113 runs), and a bowling average of 28.5 (strike rate 43.24, 145 wickets in total, best figures 4/31).

1981 Ashes Tour: Botham’s Ashes

In 1980 Botham had been appointed captain of the England team. However, his captaincy proved to be an unhappy one; he lost form and the team did not do well.

He resigned the captaincy after a loss and a draw in the first two Tests of the 1981 Ashes series. The resignation itself was the cause of controversy, with Sir Alec Bedser, Chairman of the TCCB selectors, making it clear after media questioning that Botham would have been fired in any event.BBC video "Botham’s Ashes" interview with Alec Bedser Botham himself refers to the event as his "dismissal" in his autobiography. In this Test, the Second Test played at Lord’s and his last as England captain, Botham was dismissed for a pair. He returned to an embarrassed silence in the pavilion and after the previous year’s events at the centenary Test, this possibly was the final straw. For the remainder of his cricket-playing career, Botham refused to acknowledge MCC members in the pavilion when playing at Lord’s. However, Botham subsequently accepted the honour of Honorary Life membership of MCC and his portrait (depicting him enjoying a cigar) now hangs prominently in the Long Room Bar at Lord’s.

Mike Brearley, the captain whom Botham had replaced, took up the reins again for the Third Test scheduled for 16 to 21 July, at Headingley. Australia won the toss and elected to bat. They batted all day Thursday and most of Friday, declaring after tea at 401 for 9, John Dyson having made 102 and Botham having taken 6 for 95. The England openers Graham Gooch and Geoff Boycott survived the remaining few overs, and England finished the day on 7 for no wicket.