Ian Botham is an internationally recognised personality who has, at various times in his career, been a professional footballer, cricketer, charity fundraiser and television commentator. He started his career on the football and cricket fields simultaneously, with Scunthorpe United and Somerset County Cricket Club. He is generally regarded as being England’s greatest ever all-rounder, particularly in Test cricket. On 8 August 2009, Botham was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of FameBotham is remembered as the best all rounder that English cricket has ever seen. Of his many outstanding achievements, the greatest performance was in Bombay in 1979/80 for England vs India when he hit 114 in his only innings and took 13 wickets in the match (6-58 and 7-48). This was the first time that the all round feat of a century and ten wickets in a match had been accomplished. Botham reached a career double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in his 21st Test match and his tally of 100 wickets was achieved in two years and nine days, another record. The youngest cricketer to take 200 wickets in a Tests, he reached his second double of 2,000 runs and 200 wickets after 42 Tests and was the first player to hit 5,000 runs and take 300 wickets in Tests. A back injury in 1988 threatened his career and, despite further injuries, his Test career continued until 1992.
Botham has been a prodigious fundraiser for charitable causes, undertaking a total of 12 long-distance charity walks. His first, in 1985, was a 900-mile trek from John o’ Groats to Land’s End. His efforts were inspired after a visit to Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital whilst receiving treatment for a broken toe; when he took a wrong turn into a children’s ward, he was devastated to learn that some of the children had only weeks to live. Since then, his efforts have raised more than £12 million for charity, with Leukaemia Research among the causes to benefit.
He has been s cricket commentator for Sky Sports since 1995.
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Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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