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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 December, 2004, 20:54 GMT
Botham: The entertainer
Ian Botham after his match-turning innings at Headingley in 1981
Ian Botham was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year show.

The former England all-rounder, who won the Sports Personality Award in 1981, was recognised for services to cricket.

Botham, who conceded he was surprised to get the award, was also acclaimed for charity work that has seen him raise millions for good causes.

"It's quite a shock, but it's wonderful because it's not just for the cricket but for the charity work," he said.

In total, the man the fans fondly called "Beefy" played 102 Tests for England spanning 15 years from his debut in 1977.

During that time he took 383 wickets, which remains an English record, and scored 5,200 runs.

In the one-day game he made 116 appearances, including two losing World Cup finals in 1979 and 1992.

And domestically he starred for Somerset, Worcestershire and Durham - as well as Queensland down under - in a career that lasted from 1974 until 1993. He scored 19,399 runs and took 1,172 wickets in 402 matches.

But bare statistics tell only half the story.

He had technique and flamboyance and in his prime he could do anything - if he couldn't he believed he could
David Gower
It was his match-winning exploits and size of personality that made him a firm favourite and he won universal acclaim for his efforts against Australia in 1981 in a series remembered as "Botham's Ashes".

He lost the captaincy after a pair in the second Test at Lord's but bounced back with a sensational performance next time out at Headingley.

With England staring an innings defeat square in the face, Botham took to the Australian attack with gusto and his unbeaten 149 helped turn the series, although he conceded it was "a bloody awful knock".

"It was full of inside edges and balls flying all over the place, but any time you beat Australia is a great moment," he said.

"To beat them at home's great, but to beat them in Australia is better. Beating them on the 1986 tour when we were written off was a great milestone."

He saved his best for those wearing Baggy Green and notched a final Test five-wicket haul and ton on that tour down under - the last time England won the Ashes.

But it was the victorious series in 1981 for which he will be forever remembered and his 34 wickets and two centuries that summer helped him to win the end-of-year BBC award.

"We were on tour in India at the time," he revealed.

The cricket plus the charity work plus the fact he's Ian Botham - it's a lifetime most people could not match
David Gower
"We wanted to celebrate but we didn't have any beer, although 20 crates soon turned up." Another legendary Botham night was in full swing.

His colourful life off the field helped endear him to the public.

As well as being a fixture on the back pages, he also featured on the front with less savoury headlines.

He entitled his autobiography "Don't Tell Kath", a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact his long-suffering wife found out about most of his hell-raising touring antics in the tabloids.

While playing he started doing charity work, famously walking from John O'Groats to Land's End in aid of Leukemia Research in 1985. Seven further long-distance walks have seen him break the 4m barrier in money raised.

In addition he has had a spell as a team captain on A Question of Sport, has appeared in Christmas pantos and is now a respected cricket commentator on television.

"These days I'm really enjoying the broadcasting," he added.

"The first five years I was telling everyone England were good and they were awful, but we've made fantastic progress over the last couple of years.

"If we continue to make that progress, we can beat anyone. Bring on Australia!"

Links to more Sports Personality stories


Interview: Cricket legend Ian Botham

Interview: Botham talks to BBC Radio Four


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