Botham sets all-rounder record
Ian Botham’s test cricketing career was sprinkled with many records, some of which still stand: he five times bagged five wickets in an innings and scored a century in the same match (the next best is twice); he was the first test player ever to score a century and take 10 wickets in a match; and he is still the leading English test wicket taker, his total of 383 likely to have been far higher had his speed not been hampered in the latter part of his career with a back injury that eventually forced his retirement.
Ian Botham came to the game as a life force, his verve in stark contrast to many of those who batted with him – Boycott , Tavaré and Brearley for example. Having burst on the test scene aged 21, taking a more than creditable 5 – 74, and scoring 25 in his one knock, he was soon a fixture in the side.
In his second international season Botham showed himself as a true all rounder, in the Trent Bridge Test against Pakistan setting a record still not bettered in world cricket : he scored a dashing 108 (though it should be remembered that while immensely powerful Botham was also a very ‘correct’ batsman), and then devastated the visiting side with swing bowling that most found totally unplayable, taking 8 – 34. Mike Brearley, his captain, called him a colossus; Wasim Bari the opposition captain described him as a magnificent cricketer, and so he certainly was.
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