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Ian Botham
Alastair Campbell, Ian Botham, Bob Willis, James Erskine and David Gower
Personal information
Full name Ian Terence Botham
Date of birth 24 November 1955 (1955-11-24) (age 66)
Place of birth Heswall, Cheshire, England
Playing position Striker (retired)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Yeovil Town
Scunthorpe United
  • Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Ian Terence Botham OBE, (born November 24, 1955 in Heswall, Cheshire) (nicknamed "Beefy") was one of England's best-ever cricketers and one of the best all-round cricketers of all time. In a Test career spanning 15 years from 1977, he scored 5,200 runs at 33.54, and took 383 wickets at an average of 28.40. Similarly successful at one-day cricket, he was a Wisden cricketer of the year in 1978.

Whilst his averages suggest he was an average batsman and bowler, they belie his reputation as one of the greatest match winners of the game. He tended to play to extremes, so if Botham played well, he often seemed to win the match on his own.

He was renowned as a big-hitting batsman but with a surprisingly classical technique, and as a fast-medium paced swing bowler. In his later career after a back injury, his pace diminished to no more than a gentle medium, but he seemed to retain the knack of taking wickets regardless.

He is a very popular man in England. One reason for this is that he helped England to beat Australia in a series of test matches called "The Ashes" in 1981. This series is sometimes called "Botham's Ashes".

On the field

Sky Team
Ian Botham in front of the camera for Sky TV at Trent Bridge - 1st Test of the 2013 England v Australia Ashes series

A talented footballer as well as cricketer, Botham had to choose very early in his career whether to play professional football or cricket. Later on, to get fit after an injury, he played for Scunthorpe United. Botham started his first-class career with Somerset in 1974.

He made his Test debut for England on 28 July 1977 in the Third Test against Australia . He played 102 Tests, and was England captain for 12 Tests in 1980 and 1981. However, he was unsuccessful in that role, with 8 draws and 4 losses although in his defence, 9 of his matches as captain were against the best team of the time, the West Indies.


Ian Botham headshot
Ian Botham

Ian 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 was the first player to score 5,000 runs and take 300 Test wickets, and the first to score a century and take 10 wickets in the same Test match. He 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.

When he retired, he held the world record for the greatest number of Test wickets, although his tally has subsequently been passed by several players.

Off the field

After retiring as a player, he became an authoritative television commentator and has participated in a number of long-distance fund-raising walks for charities. He has raised more than five million pounds, with leukaemia research amongst the causes which have benefited.

Botham was appointed an OBE in 1992 for services to cricket and for his charity work. For several years, he was a resident team captain on the BBC quiz show "A Question Of Sport", and he has also taken up offers of appearing in pantomimes during the Christmas period. In 2004, he won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award.

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