One Day Wickets
On Day Runs
A career in cricket
Sir Ian Botham, affectionately nicknamed Beefy, is one of the greatest and most charismatic players in English cricket history. Botham’s mantra was simple, he played hard on the field and played to win but always shared a drink with his competitors after the match.
Perhaps the best all-rounder the game has ever seen, in his 102 Test matches Botham scored over 5000 runs, including 14 centuries, took 383 wickets, and 120 catches, He was also the fastest to the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets.
In the 1980s, Botham was the only genuine matchwinner England had in their side. Botham had an uncanny ability to turn a match single-handedly with bat or ball. In the 1981 Ashes series, he won two games in such fashion and many began referring to the series as Botham’s Ashes.
He earned fame and attention in England, a country that at that time was starved of heroes but Botham always saved his best for his favourite opposition; Australia.
When Ian Botham decided to use one of his size 10½ boots to prevent a boundary in the fourth Ashes Test at Headingley in August 1977, little did he know that it would change his life forever. Had he fielded it in the modern era, Botham may have employed a sliding stop. In 1977, it was more of a Sliding Doors moment.
Botham described the searing pain that immediately shot through his foot as he trod on the ball, and was later diagnosed with a broken metatarsal, or toe as it was plainly known back then. On his arrival at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, England’s new star wandered innocently through a children’s ward. Asking the specialist what was wrong with the children he saw playing board games, Botham was staggered to hear that they had leukaemia, and that some of them only had weeks to live…
There had been whispers and rumours of a knighthood in the offing for years, with people tapping the side of their noses and murmuring things like ;Its definite this time; i heard it from a friend of a friend who works at the Palace’, but each time the rumours turned out to be false and, to be honest, I’d pretty much given up on the whole idea when the letter finally arrived.
It was torture to keep quiet about it but finally we called all the kids and grandchildren together the evening before it was officially announced and told them and, since it coincided with my Mum’s eighty-first birthday, we had a double celebration that night.
As a patriotic Englishman, nothing compares with having my work recognised by Her Majesty the Queen and its an honour and an occasion that I’ll never forget. It eclipsed great events in my life like my first Test match, Ashes victories and even Headingley 1981.