Thursday, September 24, 2009 , Posted by D S Gurung at 12:06 PM

Great all-rounder

Sir Ian Botham, English Cricketer, completed his career as a great all-rounder.

Sir Ian Terence Botham OBE, (born November 24, 1955 in Heswall, Cheshire) (nicknamed "Both", "Beefy", "Beef" or "Guy the Gorilla") is a retired England Test cricketer. He was a genuine all-rounder who played for three county teams but most significantly for Somerset CCC.

In a Test career spanning 15 years from 1977, he played in 102 matches, scoring 5,200 runs at 33.54; taking 383 wickets at an average of 28.40; and holding 120 catches. In first-class cricket, he scored 19,399 runs at 33.97, took 1,172 wickets at 27.22 and held 354 catches. He was a good limited overs player and was elected a Wisden cricketer of the year in 1978.

Sir Ian Botham has a number of notable all-round achievements. 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). Of the players who have accomplished the "all-round double" of 2000 runs and 200 wickets in Test cricket, Botham did so in fewest matches, needing just 42 while the next best is 50 achieved jointly by Imran Khan and Kapil Dev.

Compared with many of cricket's greatest players, most of whom were specialists, Botham's averages are fairly ordinary but they hide the fact that for the first five years of his Test career, his form with both bat and ball was outstanding. His reputation was of playing to extremes and so, if he played well, he could seem to win a 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 who could be very effective indeed when atmospheric conditions favoured his style. In his later career after a back injury, his pace diminished to no more than a gentle medium, but he retained the knack of taking wickets, largely because he still had the ability to "move the ball in the air". As Fred True man often said, "the outswinger is the ball that gets the great batsmen".

Sir Ian Botham was and remains a "larger than life character" and was very popular among many England sport fans. But, having said that, he also had his critics and there are many cricket fans, English as well as Australian and others, who insist that Botham was over-rated. This view is largely based on his lack of success against West Indies, which was the dominant team in cricket during Botham's career. Although Botham's performances against Australia in 1981 were spectacular, Botham did not produce anything like the same results against the more powerful West Indies team.

Courtesy: for picture

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