Home > Features > Moments in history >

Ian Botham lets the “old man” out on his final day in First-Class cricket

Ian Botham © Getty Images
Ian Botham © Getty Images

Ian Botham, always one of the greatest characters on and off the cricket ground, had decided to end his First-Class career in style on July 19, 1993. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at an incident that embarrassed David Boon, no less.

It may have been Ian Botham’s last First-Class match, but he was not going to let it pass just like that: Botham was all about style, and this was not going to be an exception. He was going to make it to the news: if not with bat or ball, then it had to be with one of his famous antics.

The Australians toured England in 1993 — a series that is immortalised in history for Shane Warne’s “Ball of the Century”. Botham, of course, was out of contention, but he got an opportunity to have one final go at the antipodeans in their tour match against Durham at The Racecourse. He had told David Graveney (Tom’s nephew and Durham captain) that he would retire from First-Class cricket after the match.

The match

Durham got off to a good start after Graveney elected to bat, with Graeme Fowler and Wayne Larkins putting up 91. Stewart Hutton contributed as well, but Larkins stole the show with a spectacular 192-ball 151. Botham lit up the ground later in the day, reminding his old enemies of his golden days: he scored 32 in 37 balls. Anderson Cummins made merry as well, and Graveney declared overnight on 385 for eight.

Simon Brown’s left-arm pace turned out to be a bit too hot for the Australians to handle: they were reduced to 113 for seven, and it was only a gutsy 100-run partnership between Ian Healy (who was left stranded on 70) and Paul Reiffel that bailed Australia to some extent.

The follow-on, however, was not averted: Graveney asked Allan Border’s team to bat again after a lead of 164 (Botham’s figures read 6-2-21-0). The tourists lost Mark Taylor early, but Matthew Hayden and David Boon saw them off to stumps, and carried the momentum to the last day. Both registered hundreds, and the 225-run stand bailed the Australians out of danger.

Botham formally announced retirement on the last day of the match in Daily Mirror. He also gave a somewhat extended press conference during a rain break. Graveney had held Botham back, using him sparingly. With the match meandering to a draw, he came on to bowl what would be his 11th — and final — over of the innings.

Meat and two veg

The first five balls were sent down without any incident (though he imitated Jeff Thomson’s bowling action). Boon, perhaps the only man on the ground who could match Botham as a character, was on strike. Botham reached the top of his bowling mark for the last ball of his First-Class career. Then, as Boon (and everyone else on the ground) had expected him to run in, Botham did something unexpected.

Botham later told The Guardian: “Boony (Boon) was struggling for his Test place and was deadly serious. But he just about fell over laughing and shouted, ‘Beefy, you can’t do this to me.’ I was midway though my run-up and he’d spotted that I’d unzipped my fly and hauled out the meat and two veg. The old man was dangling in the wind as I steamed in. If I’d got it on target I would’ve bowled him. I thought it was a nice way to go out.”

Much to his credit, Botham carried this to such perfection that there was nobody outside the playing arena realised what had happened. It must be noted here there trousers with zips had been near-extinct in cricket in 1993, so Botham putting a pair on while taking field must have been an odd sight.

When news got out, however, Wisden was not too lenient, and called the act “unbecoming and flippant.” But then, as Simon Wilde wrote in Botham’s biography, “He (Botham) had been determined to do something memorable, even if it meant a Harvey Smith-style gesture.”

Botham received a huge applause when he took the sweater from the umpire. Kim Hughes, present at the ground, later told Wilde: “Even the old grumps who usually moaned about his (Botham’s) lost commitment got to their feet.”

The final act

As the last over of the match approached, Botham decided to pull off one final trick from his hat. He got Chris Scott to remove his wicket-keeping gloves and pads, and kept wickets without pads and in batting gloves. Then, with the crowd in ruptures and cameras clicking all around him, Ian Terence Botham left the green for one final time.

What followed?

-          Australia retained the Ashes by a convincing 4-1 margin.

-          Botham and Boon got together again. After the immense success of Boony (a small, talking Boon figurine that came free with the purchase of beer), Victoria Bitter decided to add a miniature Botham (Beefy) as well. Boony and Beefy turned out to be an instant hit.

Brief scores:

Durham 385 for 8 decl. (Wayne Larkins 151, Anderson Cummins 69, Stewart Hutton 47, Graeme Fowler 41) drew with Australians 221 (Ian Healy 70*, Simon Brown 7 for 70) and 295 for 3 (Matthew Hayden 151 not out, David Boon 112).

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 22, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 162 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 5 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 3 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Lahore Lions won by 55 runs

Photos

CSK vs KKR, Match 1 CLT20 2014

Videos

Anderson plays golf with Jaguar competition winners

Live Cricket Score Cape Cobras vs Northern Knights, CLT20 2014: Northern Knights win by 33 runs via D/L method

Furious MS Dhoni and CSK check out of Hyderabad hotel following Biryani episode

Chris Cairns cleaning bus shelters? Why?

Herbert Chang: The Jamaican of Chinese origin who wasted his life in South Africa

Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014: Kings XI Punjab’s batting gets the extra punch with Thisara Perera’s inclusion

Champions League T20 Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 CSK vs KKR Hobart Hurricanes Kings XI Punjab Kings XI Punjab vs Hobart Hurricanes KKR vs CSK Kolkata Knight Riders Mumbai Indians Northern Knights Pakistan West Indies

Northern Knights win by 33 runs through D/L method against Cape Cobras in CLT20 2014, 3rd match

Cape Cobras consolidate after early breakthrough against Northern Knights in CLT20 2014, 3rd match

Hashim Amla dismissed for Cape Cobras against Northern Nights in CLT20 2014, 3rd match

Trent Boult dismisses Stiaan van Zyl for Northern Knights against Cape Cobras in CLT20 2014, 3rd match

Kane Williamson’s belligerent century for Northern Knights helps post commanding score of 206/5 against Cape Cobras in CLT20 2014, 3rd match

Don Bradman’s 99.94 — the hand of Neil Harvey in the average

Chris Cairns cleaning bus shelters? Why?

Cape Cobras vs Northern Knights CLT20 2014 Match 3: Northern Knights’ likely XI

Sourav Ganguly: Hope India-Pakistan cricket starts soon

Cape Cobras (CC) vs Northern Knights (NK) CLT20 2014 Match 3: Cape Cobras’ likely XI

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

669 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes (HH) CLT20 2014

Hrithik Roshan in song Bang Bang or Tiger Shroff in his tribute video, whose Michael Jackson moves do you like more? Vote!

खाना को चबाने के पाँच फ़ायदें

Qubool Hai: Will Aahil make Sanam cry?

सेक्स टिप #2: केला खाकर अपने सेक्स लाइफ को बनाए बेहतर

Samsung to launch Tizen-based smartphone in India around Diwali: Report

Samsung Galaxy A5 first photos and specifications leaked

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here