Throwback Thursday: Ian Botham
Quite simply Ian Botham is one of the most exciting cricketers to have ever played the game.
He was a match winner. Every time that he walked to the wicket or had the ball in his hand you just knew that something was going to happen.
He was a game changer and those who watched him during his playing career will have their own lasting memory to cherish.
He announced himself on the Somerset cricketing scene in 1974 in dramatic style with a courageous innings that won a game for his county, that had seemed to be lost.
Somerset had reached the quarter finals of the Benson and Hedges Cup and faced Hampshire at the County Ground in Taunton on June 12th.
Batting first Hampshire were dismissed to 182 in 53.3 overs. The 18 year old Botham, who went to school in Yeovil before joining the MCC Groundstaff, ended with an impressive two for 33 from his 11 overs, three of which were maidens.
In reply Somerset lost Merv Kitchen and Peter Denning followed by Viv Richards for 1 and it wasn’t long before the home side found themselves in deep trouble at 89 for 5.
Skipper Brian Close then came to the wicket and added 48 in 11 overs with Derek Taylor but when three wickets fell quickly Somerset found themselves on 113 for 8.
Hampshire’s West Indian paceman Andy Roberts was in full flow and when he hit Botham with a rising ball, the young all rounder fell to the ground minus a couple of teeth that had been removed by the blow.
Everyone thought that was the end of Botham and the end of the game, but the 18 year old was having none of it. Spattered with blood, he bravely continued with his innings and along with Hallam Moseley added 63 from the next 13 overs to move Somerset to within 7 runs of victory.
Moseley was then out bringing last man Bob Clapp to the wicket and the onus fell even more heavily on Botham’s shoulders as he tried to corner the bowling, which he achieved.
In the 54th over Botham eventually drove Bob Herman to the cover boundary to see his team to a remarkable one wicket victory, to which he contributed an unbeaten 45.
The next morning Ian Botham was headline news in all the national and regional newspapers and from then on he was here to stay!
The Somerset fans loved their new hero, who from then on was to star in many memorable triumphs for both Club and Country.