Profile One of cricketís greatest ever all-rounders, Ian Bothamís presence often turned matches for England, not least during the 1981 Ashes series against Australia.
Botham chose to play cricket ahead of football and he made his first grade debut for Somerset in 1974. Three years later, he made his debut for England in the 1977 Ashes series, and within three years he was Englandís best player and possibly the best all-rounder in the world. His batting style was one of controlled aggression whilst his clever bowling involved swinging the ball which foxed many opponents.
In 1981, Botham was England captain for the Ashes series but having lost one and drawn one of the first two, he resigned. The Third Test took place at Headingley in Leeds and, on the fourth day, England were facing an innings defeat. Bothamís controlled hitting took him to 145 not out and England had a lead of 128. Normally, this would not be enough but Bothamís performance lifted his team and England bowler Bob Willis took eight wickets as Australia collapsed to 111 all out.
In the Fifth Test, Bothamís bowling proved crucial as he took five Australian wickets for 1 run in a 28 ball spell to win another close match. He had earlier scored a brilliant century and set a Test record by scoring six sixes in the match. Such feats were typical of Bothamís career which ended with 5200 Test match runs and 383 Test match wickets. He was the first player to score 5000 Test runs and take 300 Test wickets and the first to score a century and take 10 wickets in the same Test match. In 1986 he even became Test cricketís leading wicket taker surpassing Dennis Lilleeís total of 355.