Was Ian Botham a better allrounder than Imran Khan in his peak era?

Harsh Thakor

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Generally, in the cricket World Gary Sobers is considered the best all-rounder ever ,closely followed by Jaques Kallis.Howevere there was never an era when there were so many great all-rounders as the 1980's with Imran,Botham,Kapil and Hadlee.Of the 4 Hadlee and Imran were great fast bowlers ,while Kapil Dev and Ian botham combined batting ability more in their peak years as a fast bowler. Only Imran was genuinely quick of the 4.

Imran Khan eclipsed Botham as a bowler but did not amass as may runs as Botham in the peak of his batting career. The highlight of Botham's career at his peak was his performance in the 1980 Jubilee test match in Mumbai and the 1981 home Ashes series.He made the impact of a tornado in those editions, singlehandedly winning games for England. Above all Botham rescued England from the most precarious positions like when scoring 114 runs from 58-5 in the Jubilee test and 149 not out at 133-7 at Leeds after England followed on 227 runs behind .He literally ressurected England from the grave and his 1981 Ashes performance is arguably the best ever by a cricketer.However Imran Khan was a far more consistent fast bowling match-winner as he displayed in Australia, West Indies,England and at home.In both series he played against Ian Botham in England in 1982 and 1987 he overshadowed his rival in every department. In his paek period in 1982 Botham was outclassed by Imran who averaged 53 with that and captured 21 wickets at an average of 18.53 runs. Above all he led his team and only bad umpiring decisions cost Pakistan the series in 1982 which he almost single-handedly would have won. Against India in 1982-83 he gave the best performance ever by fast bowler in a series in the sub-continent or arguably anywhere in the world taking 40 wickets at 13.93 and averaging over 60 with the bat.At his best Botham has not equalled Imran as a pace bowler in England, Australia or West Indies.The factor in favour of Botham was that he turned matches and silmunataneously with both bat and ball considerably more than Imran.Botham, took 5 wickets and scored a century in 5 test matches-a record. He also scored 14 test hundreds, against Imran Khan's 6.Botham was a better match-winner with the bat and could dominate bowling more than Imran could who became a very good batsman late in his career.Then again at his peak as a batsman from 1988-1992 Imran Khan averaged around 60 runs with the bat.Botham also had an adavantage of playing 2nd class Pakistani and Australian teams whose star players signed in for Kerry Packer cricket. He would not have otherwise had such impressive statistics in the 1978 series against Pakistan or the 1978-79 tour of Australia. Above all Botham,unlike Imran Khan hardly succeeded in the West Indies and even at home gave only one or two great performances. Imran has a test hundred against the West Indies to his credit.Although Botham has more aggregate runs and better strike rate ,Imrarn has a better batting average than Botham in his peak years as an all-rounder or as a batsman in his peak period.Imran's bowling almost won Pakistan their 1st series in the Caribbean in 1988 ,but dubious umpiring decisions cost his team victory in the series. Neverthless he played an instrumental role in Pakistan's 1st ever series wins in India and England. His batting with a consistent string of scores played a crucial role in 1987 in India while in England in 1987 his bowling of 10-77 at Leeds and 118 runs at Oval played a decisive part.

The most important question is not who was the better cricketer or all-rounder overall.Imran Khan would win the issue as a cricketer with his captaincy record and arguably as an all-rounder. However was the Ian Botham of 1977-92 a better all-rounder than Imran Khan of 1980-88? Personally if Gary Sobers was already in the team then I would prefer Imran to join him than Botham.As Alan Davidson stated that it is fast bowlers who are the real match-winners and great fast bowling allrounders were better match-winners than batting all-rounders.However without Gary Sobers at no 6 position I may prefer Botham with his ability to turn games with both bat and ball. Then again Imran Khan was arguably the best skipper of the 1980’s so he would win a place on that merit. It may be fair to say that the Botham of the 1981 Ashes and the 1980 Jubilee test at Mumbai was the only time he morally won over Imran Khan.

In Richard Sydenham’s book of all-time xi’s selected by 100 legends about 5 players have chosen both Imran and Botham like Saeed Anwar,Dilip Vengsarkar,Abdul Qadir etc.Most West Indian cricketers chose Imran while South Africans and Englsih stalwarts chsoe Botham like Mike Procter,Shaun Pollock,Alan Donlad,Barry Richards.Jeff ThomsonetcIt is significant that Richi.e Benaud chose Imran Khan as well as Kapil Dev,Ravi Shastri .

Ian Botham’s career stats are below


A career of two distinct halves
Runs Average 100s/ 50s Wickets Average 5WI/ 10WM
First 51 Tests 2833 38.80 11/ 10 231 23.06 19/ 4
Next 37 Tests 1976 31.36 3/ 11 135 33.85 8/ 0
Last 14 Tests 391 20.57 0/ 1 17 57.52 0/ 0
Career (102 Tests) 5200 33.54 14/ 22 383 28.40 27/
During the six years when Botham was at his peak, he was the best of the four allrounders going around during that period. Imran Khan, Kapil Dev and Richard Hadlee were tremendous too - though Hadlee's best was to come later - but none of them matched Botham's consistency with bat and ball. During this period, the difference between Botham's batting and bowling average was 12.59. Imran and Hadlee had better bowling averages, but neither matched Botham as a batsman (though Imran's best as a batsman was to come later).
The four leading allrounders between Jan 1977 and Dec 1982
Player Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s Wickets Average 5WI/ 10WM Diff in ave
Ian Botham 58 3229 37.11 11/ 13 262 24.52 20/ 4 12.59
Imran Khan 37 1429 29.16 1/ 4 186 21.79 13/ 3 7.37
Kapil Dev 44 1904 32.82 2/ 11 172 29.68 13/ 1 3.14
Richard Hadlee 23 767 21.91 1/ 4 114 23.22 11/ 2 -1.31


During his peak years in Test cricket, Imran was easily the best allrounder among his peers. In the nine years between 1980 and 1988, his bowling average of 17.77 was almost 22 lesser than his batting average - the difference was clearly the best among those with 1500 runs and 100 wickets during this period. Hadlee's bowling performances were exceptional during this period, but he couldn't quite match up to Imran with the bat, while both Botham and Kapil had far lesser success with the ball.
Statistics of Imran Khan
Top allrounders between 1980 and 1988 (Qual: 1500 runs, 100 wickets)
Player Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s Wickets Average 5WI/ 10WM Diff in ave
Imran Khan 48 2028 39.76 4/ 10 236 17.77 18/ 5 21.99
Richard Hadlee 51 1987 31.04 2/ 10 284 19.03 28/ 7 12.01
Ian Botham 72 3989 34.38 10/ 19 255 31.83 15/ 2 2.55
Kapil Dev 72 3103 31.98 5/ 16 242 30.05 14/ 2 1.93
Ravi Shastri 61 2702 34.64 7/ 10 132 38.24 2/ 0 -3.60

Highest batting averages between Jan 1, 1987 and Jan 6, 1992 (Qual: 1500 runs)
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Martin Crowe 24 2186 60.72 8/ 8
Imran Khan 28 1552 59.69 4/ 9
Graham Gooch 32 3282 55.62 8/ 18
Andrew Jones 20 1703 54.93 5/ 6
Javed Miandad 35 2512 54.60 8/ 10
Mark Taylor 28 2565 53.43 7/ 17
Robin Smith 28 2118 52.95 6/ 15
Shoaib Mohammad 32 2175 50.58 7/ 8
One of the highlights of Imran's career was his battles against the best team of his times, West Indies. As a batsman he wasn't as effective against them, but as a bowler he was superb, taking 80 wickets at 21.18. Comparing the stats of the four superstar allrounders of that era against West Indies, it's clear that three of them raised their games against them - Hadlee and Kapil too had terrific numbers against them - but the disappointment was Botham, who struggled with both bat and ball.
The four allrounders against West Indies
Player Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s Wickets Average 5WI/ 10WM
Imran Khan 18 775 27.67 1/ 3 80 21.18 6/ 1
Richard Hadlee 10 389 32.41 1/ 1 51 22.03 4/ 1
Kapil Dev 25 1079 30.82 3/ 4 89 24.89 4/ 1
Ian Botham 20 792 21.40 0/ 4 61 35.18 3/ 0
Perhaps even more impressive than his individual performances against West Indies was the manner in which Imran inspired his team to raise their level against them. He led them on three occasions versus West Indies between 1985 and 1990, and each series was a classic, with each team winning a Test every time. Imran the bowler was outstanding in two of those series, taking 18 wickets at 11.05 in 1986, and 23 wickets at 18.08 in 1988. During that period Pakistan was the only team to win more than one Test against West Indies. (In complete contrast, England won one and lost 11 Tests against them during this period.)
 
You're a bot or something, right?
 
I think IK was better, but Botham was more "well rounded"
 
As you said, I think that the difference between Imran Khan the bowler and Ian Botham the batsman is greater than between Immy the bat and Beefy the pacer, and that's why the former is rated a better "all rounder", peoples forget that his peak average ('81-'86) is the lowest ever (+150 wickets @ 14.9!).
But it doesn't negate Ian Botham's achievements, especially during the '81 Ashes, and that, purely speaking on bowling terms, the man was once rated as the second best after Dennis Lillee (towards the end of the 70s If I'm not wrong.)
I just think that as much as Imran worked on his batting (as his body couldn't support express pace's demands - ended up becoming one of the best statistical Test batsmen of the late 80s), Botham was somehow lazy and had he retired a bit earlier perhaps he would show better figures as of now ?
 
Beefy was a great player and is a considerable person no doubt, but I do believe Imran Khan to be the finest all-rounder in cricket history.
 
For me, being a great bowler is rarer and hence probably harder than being a great batsman, so I'd always weigh bowling allrounders like IK and to a lesser extent Sir Mr Hadlee over Beefy. Although if you needed someone for that magical day when your team needed something, it's hard to look past Ian Botham.
 
Pre 80's Botham had 35+ average with bowling average under 20
By 80's Imran was leagues ahead of everyone
 

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Ian Botham was neither here nor there IMO.
Was he a great bowler? NO
Was he a great batsman? NO

So i cant mention him in the same sentence as other great All rounders. He would not make my 3rd world XI.

Imran Khan for me all the way.
 
Botham was better than Kapil, if you look objectively at the stats
 
Cricketing ability or physicality?

:))) No contest at all!

Batting: Botham > Imran, but not by much in the end

Bowling: Botham < Imran

Fielding: Botham >>> Imran

Captaincy: Botham <<< Imran
 
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Re: Was Ian Botham a better allrounder than Imran in his peak era?

Where was Australia ranked at the time Botham had that series which he became famous for?
 
Australian Squad during Botham's Ashes
Batsmen - Kim Hughes (captain), Allan Border, Graeme Wood, John Dyson, Graham Yallop, Martin Kent, Dirk Wellham, Trevor Chappell
Fast bowlers - Dennis Lillee, Terry Alderman, Rodney Hogg, Geoff Lawson
Spinners - Ray Bright, Graeme Beard
Wicketkeeper - Rod Marsh, Steve Rixon
 
Where was Australia ranked at the time Botham had that series which he became famous for?

Consider that Botham already had eight test centuries and 200 test wickets prior to that series.

AUS were certainly missing Greg Chappell. Had he come on that tour then I think Australia would have won the series, given how ENG victories went to the wire. The batting was a bit weak without him, though the great AB was there and Hughes and Yallop were pretty good.

The AUS fast bowling was very, very good: Lillee, Alderman and Lawson. Alderman was a man born to bowl in England - I think he took 81 wickets in 12 tests at 18 each.
 
At peak, Ian Botham was actually the greatest ever cricketer known to mankind.
 
Ian Botham was neither here nor there IMO.

So i cant mention him in the same sentence as other great All rounders. He would not make my 3rd world XI.

Imran Khan for me all the way.

He was good enough to play just as a batter and just as a bowler, therefore meeting Sobers' criterion as a true test class all-rounder. He could change the course of a match with bat or ball in a short time.

He would get into my fourth XI (Sobers 1st XI, Imran 2nd XI, Miller 3rd XI).
 
:))) No contest at all!

Batting: Botham > Imran, but not by much in the end

Bowling: Botham < Imran

Fielding: Botham >>> Imran

Captaincy: Botham <<< Imran

I beg to differ, personally, I think IK was evantually better slughtly in batting in the endand in fielding Botham was a much better close catcher, but IK fieleded better off his bowling and had a strong arm on the boundary.
 
Imran and Botham faced each other in two series

1982
Imran 212 runs at 53, 21 wickets at 18
Botham 163 runs at 27, 18 wickets at 26
Imran - 2 man of the match award + man of the series

1987
Imran 191 runs at 48, 21 wickets at 21
Botham 233 runs at 33, 7 wickets at 61

Imran - man of the series and man of the match in the decisive test

Botham was two years younger than Imran - nobody was stopping him from dominating the show but he couldn't


The Bottom Line

Botham - 396 runs at 30, Imran 403 runs at 50
Botham 25 wickets at 36, Imran 42 wickets at 20

Full stop

This is a fact that Simon Wilde has repeatedly acknowledged in his biography of Botham.

For the 1982 series he writes, that although Botham had Kapil Dev covered in the 1982 season, the same could not be said of Imran who dominated him completely.

And again in 1987, when Botham famously wrote that he only considered Imran as his serious rival as the world's best all-rounder - again Simon Wilde writes that the Pakistani captain, two years older, was clearly better.

So insecure was he about Imran that his teammates confirm that all it took to work him up was to mention Imran's abilities and he would be fuming.

Imran too was confident about himself - in All-Round View, he calmly writes that he became the world's best all-rounder and was the man of the series in both the rubbers he played against Botham.

Imran's real problem was that during his early years he would come back batting at number 4 in England, averaging 40 and then made to bat at number 8 in the Pakistani line-up because the Pakistanis had some big names. When made captain, he could bat on his terms. In fact, his figures started improving after Mushtaq's and Asif Iqbal's departure.
 
I beg to differ, personally, I think IK was evantually better slughtly in batting in the endand in fielding Botham was a much better close catcher, but IK fieleded better off his bowling and had a strong arm on the boundary.

I've been quite critical of Imran's batting record but won't reiterate it here. They were very different in style. Imran would try to grind out a slow fifty while Botham would try to hit a very fast century. Imran was a good pressure player, while Botham was often best when all seemed lost, and he had wonderful shock value. Imran's batting got better with time, while Botham's declined sharply after 1985. Neither was much cop against WI, though Imran did score a century against them at home. Kapil was certainly better than Imran and Botham with the bat against WI.

I'm curious to know how you think Imran was better fielding off his own bowling. Do you have caught-and-bowled stats for them both?
 
He was good enough to play just as a batter and just as a bowler, therefore meeting Sobers' criterion as a true test class all-rounder. He could change the course of a match with bat or ball in a short time.

He would get into my fourth XI (Sobers 1st XI, Imran 2nd XI, Miller 3rd XI).

an average of 30 is nowhere good enough to walk into any XI.

Most teams in the 80's were pretty much rubbish too. Australia kept on losing players through rebel tours and the Kerry Packer series, only became stronger after 87.
India were awful. Sri Lanka were rubbish. New Zealand a one man team (Hadlee), no South Africa either.
West Indies and Pakistan were the only strong teams which of course he failed against.
The 80's was too lopsided for me. No way Botham makes any team based on his batting alone
 
Imran and Botham faced each other in two series

1982
Imran 212 runs at 53, 21 wickets at 18
Botham 163 runs at 27, 18 wickets at 26
Imran - 2 man of the match award + man of the series

1987
Imran 191 runs at 48, 21 wickets at 21
Botham 233 runs at 33, 7 wickets at 61

Imran - man of the series and man of the match in the decisive test

Botham was two years younger than Imran - nobody was stopping him from dominating the show but he couldn't


The Bottom Line

Botham - 396 runs at 30, Imran 403 runs at 50
Botham 25 wickets at 36, Imran 42 wickets at 20

Full stop

This is a fact that Simon Wilde has repeatedly acknowledged in his biography of Botham.

For the 1982 series he writes, that although Botham had Kapil Dev covered in the 1982 season, the same could not be said of Imran who dominated him completely.

And again in 1987, when Botham famously wrote that he only considered Imran as his serious rival as the world's best all-rounder - again Simon Wilde writes that the Pakistani captain, two years older, was clearly better.

So insecure was he about Imran that his teammates confirm that all it took to work him up was to mention Imran's abilities and he would be fuming.

Imran too was confident about himself - in All-Round View, he calmly writes that he became the world's best all-rounder and was the man of the series in both the rubbers he played against Botham.

Imran's real problem was that during his early years he would come back batting at number 4 in England, averaging 40 and then made to bat at number 8 in the Pakistani line-up because the Pakistanis had some big names. When made captain, he could bat on his terms. In fact, his figures started improving after Mushtaq's and Asif Iqbal's departure.

top post, top post.
 
Re: Was Ian Botham a better allrounder than Imran in his peak era?

Rankings have only been used since 2003.

Historical rankings have been backdated and are available. I'm on my phone and can't check today...
 
Historical rankings have been backdated and are available. I'm on my phone and can't check today...

I've seen those, but it wasn't a 'Test Championship' then so one could argue that the dynamics were slightly different. Either way I guess the best team in the eighties were the West Indies. But in terms of comparing the relative merits of the sides, it would probably be best to speak to some of the warhorses who actually watched cricket then.

If I do understand one thing though, it is that Botham's performances in some of the premier series were sometimes affected by the weight of being the captain as well as the star all-rounder and go-to guy. Though by definition this is what makes Imran the superior cricketer, in my opinion, bearing in mind that all-rounders do not usually make good captains. What I'm saying is that I do not blame Botham for not handling the job; I applaud Imran for doing it well.
 
an average of 30 is nowhere good enough to walk into any XI.

Most teams in the 80's were pretty much rubbish too. Australia kept on losing players through rebel tours and the Kerry Packer series, only became stronger after 87.
India were awful. Sri Lanka were rubbish. New Zealand a one man team (Hadlee), no South Africa either.

I'd say that the 1980s was a higher standard of cricket than the current era.

Packer cricket wasn't in the 1980s. The only significant bowlers the Aussies lost in 1984 were Alderman and maybe Hogg and Rackemann. India were stronger then than in this millenium because they had Kapil Dev. There were no minnow sides because SL hardly played until the 1990s, and NZ were lifted so far by Hadlee - indeed in 1986 you could argue that they were #2 after WI.
 
If I do understand one thing though, it is that Botham's performances in some of the premier series were sometimes affected by the weight of being the captain as well as the star all-rounder and go-to guy.

What didn't help was that at age 24 they made him skipper against WI for ten tests in a row. Willis broke down and he had to make do with bowlers such as a green Dilley and Stevenson (who? - I hear you ask) so had little bowling support. I think that, had he not been skipper for those ten matches then his figures against WI would have looked healthier overall.

Brearley had very cleverly retired for those matches, then came back to win the Ashes through a rejuvenated Botham and look like a genius (which to be fair, he is).
 
I've seen those, but it wasn't a 'Test Championship' then so one could argue that the dynamics were slightly different. Either way I guess the best team in the eighties were the West Indies. But in terms of comparing the relative merits of the sides, it would probably be best to speak to some of the warhorses who actually watched cricket then.

If I do understand one thing though, it is that Botham's performances in some of the premier series were sometimes affected by the weight of being the captain as well as the star all-rounder and go-to guy. Though by definition this is what makes Imran the superior cricketer, in my opinion, bearing in mind that all-rounders do not usually make good captains. What I'm saying is that I do not blame Botham for not handling the job; I applaud Imran for doing it well.

Just to put some numbers, as a captain (48 out of his career 88 matches), Imran Khan averaged 52 with the bat and 20 with the ball, compared to 25 and 25 - respectively, I'd say - in a less august persona.
Also, don't know how Australia was ranked, but the team's W/L ratio during the decade probably gives a shy idea :

wl80.png
 
That table shows how NZ were strong in the 1980s. They were very hard to beat at home. They even beat WI in a series.

England were terrible in the second half of the eighties, winning just five tests out of fifty (all vs. Australia). Then structural changes were made, so as to create test-class players who could stay fit for tests.
 
Botham was better than just a mere allrounder, but he really lacked consistency and fitness in the middle to latter part of his career, which proved his downfall as an ATG allrounder.
 
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Pakistan had the highest test score, quite surprising, I think it was in the same match that Javed got 260 in.
 
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Even in the OP, Botham's peak stats are inferior to Imran's, 51 matches- batting average 39 and bowling avg 23, for Imran 48 tests batting avg- 49 and bowling avg 18, astonishing figures.
 
I'd say that the 1980s was a higher standard of cricket than the current era.

Packer cricket wasn't in the 1980s. The only significant bowlers the Aussies lost in 1984 were Alderman and maybe Hogg and Rackemann. India were stronger then than in this millenium because they had Kapil Dev. There were no minnow sides because SL hardly played until the 1990s, and NZ were lifted so far by Hadlee - indeed in 1986 you could argue that they were #2 after WI.

get serious Rob, 1 man makes a team better?
I could take Steyn and include him in the current Australia team and there is only so much he can do.
India were weak, only Pakistan and Windies i could term as world class sides.
Botham played 3 matches against Lanka in the 80's by the way.
 
get serious Rob, 1 man makes a team better?
I could take Steyn and include him in the current Australia team and there is only so much he can do.
India were weak, only Pakistan and Windies i could term as world class sides.
Botham played 3 matches against Lanka in the 80's by the way.

Objectives stats don't lie.
 
You didn't see him, did you? I can tell.

Consider his record alongside that of his England middle-order mates Gatting and Lamb.

making a team based on mediocrity does not count. Steve Smith is a good example for Australia.
Would Botham make England current team for his batting alone? You and i know the answer to that one dont we.

I dont know why you would choose to patronize me about who i saw and did not.
 
Botham averages 43 in wins with the bat too, thats hardly a significant contribution to make a team with the willow alone.
 
To put Botham the batsman into perceptive on why he was rated so highly in his peak , he made 11 Centuries during "78-82" (over 3000 runs) . Second highest after Gavaskar (12) during that time frame.

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/en...8;spanval1=span;template=results;type=batting

Botham the bowler was the highest wicket taker (250+) during "78-82" with under 25 average. Next best was Willis with less than 175 wickets.

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/en...8;spanval1=span;template=results;type=bowling

His overall record from 01 jan 78 to 31 Dec 82
56 matches - 3204 runs , Batting Avg - 37.69 , 100 - 11 , Wickets - 252 , 5wk/inn - 18 , bowling avg - 24.69
 
making a team based on mediocrity does not count. Steve Smith is a good example for Australia.

Viv Richards: You felt that England could achieve anything with Ian in the side, even when we were winning all those games. He has such a serious, serious passion for the Three Lions and he was the ultimate all-rounder. He had such magnificent will-power and a never-say-die attitude. There was his bowling first and foremost. But he was also the cleanest hitter of a cricket ball I’d seen at that stage.

He would ignore the coaching manual as a slip fielder but he was one of the best catchers I ever saw, too. He stood there with his hands on his knees but his reflexes were incredible.

We took time in our team meetings to make sure he wouldn’t get away. We knew how destructive he could be. He was the spirit of England. He was like a pied piper.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-2160700/Sir-Viv-Richards-interview-Nasser-Hussain.html


Would Botham make England current team for his batting alone? You and i know the answer to that one dont we.

Yes, he would get in. He'd slot in at #5 or #6 very nicely, even if he never bowled a ball. He could play spin better than most of the current top six. He'd find it tough against SA, - everyone does - but all other attacks he'd murder.
 
Good debate here.


Botham averages 43 in wins with the bat too, thats hardly a significant contribution to make a team with the willow alone.

For a batsman it would be cack, for an all-rounder 43 sounds pretty good though.
 
I think Both's early days stats were a bit inflated for the quality of opposition. He played lot of matches against Packer reject sides (PAK, AUS, not sure about WI). Even that 81 Ashes was without Greg Chappel.

No disgrace though, he was an outstanding all-rounder, but I though k both he & Kapil dragged their career too long while Imran & Hadlee retired early (though both were much older at retirement than the other two).
 
I think Both's early days stats were a bit inflated for the quality of opposition. He played lot of matches against Packer reject sides (PAK, AUS, not sure about WI). Even that 81 Ashes was without Greg Chappel.

No disgrace though, he was an outstanding all-rounder, but I though k both he & Kapil dragged their career too long while Imran & Hadlee retired early (though both were much older at retirement than the other two).

Both fair comments.

Consider though the Centenary Test in India in 1979, where he took 13 wickets and scored a century against the full Indian side.

Botham should not have played tests after the '86/7 Ashes series as his bowling had become ineffective and batting less reliable. They carried on picking him for another twenty tests in which he did nothing of note, and his figures went south as a result.

He did quite well in ODIs after that as a 'finisher' batter and tight medium-pace middle-overs bowler.

Had the TCCB grasped the nettle, dropped him from tests and played him in ODIs only he would be more highly regarded by the generations that did not see him play in his pomp.
 
Most of Botham's batting exploits were against Kerry-Packer depleted sides
 
Viv Richards: You felt that England could achieve anything with Ian in the side, even when we were winning all those games. He has such a serious, serious passion for the Three Lions and he was the ultimate all-rounder. He had such magnificent will-power and a never-say-die attitude. There was his bowling first and foremost. But he was also the cleanest hitter of a cricket ball I’d seen at that stage.

He would ignore the coaching manual as a slip fielder but he was one of the best catchers I ever saw, too. He stood there with his hands on his knees but his reflexes were incredible.

We took time in our team meetings to make sure he wouldn’t get away. We knew how destructive he could be. He was the spirit of England. He was like a pied piper.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-2160700/Sir-Viv-Richards-interview-Nasser-Hussain.html
quoting Viv proves what exactly?
He was probably showing respect for a man who was toothless against them. Only won 1 game vs Windies and that too in the 90's.
Lets not kid ourselves here, he was a non entity as far as the Windies were concerned. Even Tendulkar once hailed Cronje, what does that prove?

Yes, he would get in. He'd slot in at #5 or #6 very nicely, even if he never bowled a ball. He could play spin better than most of the current top six. He'd find it tough against SA, - everyone does - but all other attacks he'd murder.

:))) get real.
 
Good debate here.




For a batsman it would be cack, for an all-rounder 43 sounds pretty good though.

33 is not though. I dont understand how anyone would advocate for a player to make a team for his batting alone. Thats nowhere good enough.
 
Yep fact that with his overall career stats that Botham wouldn't make it into any line up with batting or bowling alone.
 
In a way this is very similar to a debate about A. Gilchrist i.e. would he make a team based on his batting alone? I dont think so. People need to understand what a batsman is and his role.

A batsman for me is a player good enough to survive the new ball, a good enough technique, be able to play up the order when required.
A player capable of coming in at 20/3 after 15 overs and good enough to withstand that pressure. I'm not necessarily saying everyone should be a top order bat, but they should be good enough to fill that position e.g Faf and Dumminy are lower order bats and are good enough to step up the order should Kallis be injured.

Would Botham and Gilly be good enough for that? I dont think so, and therefore i cant consider those type of players as specialist batsman.
Its easy wanting to attack each and every ball to the boundary when batting is not your primary job.
They had "free roles" in the side with no pressure whatsoever in the batting department.
 
Botham contributed with ball and bat at the same time. IK was focused on bowling in his early part and batting in his later part. He rarely changed the course of the game by his batting and bowling at the same time.

Not to forget Botham was a much better fielder. I rate Botham as more well rounded all rounder in his peak than IK. As a bowler, IK was far better though.

In a way this is very similar to a debate about A. Gilchrist i.e. would he make a team based on his batting alone? I dont think so. People need to understand what a batsman is and his role.

Well in batting , Botham > Kapil > IK > Hadlee

But even Botham will not make into a good batting unit based on his batting alone. I am not sure if we have example of any bowling all rounder being good enough to make into a good batting unit. Now these guys can make into some test sides who have poor batting but they won't be considered for any good batting side. I think it's too much to ask from an all rounder to make into a good batting unit based only on his batting and at the same time make into a good bowling unit only based on his bowling.
 
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Don't know where this asumption about Imran being poor in fielding came from, just because Botham had alot more catches.
 
^^ yeah thats my point. Atleast Gilly has the numbers to initiate a debate. Botham has non
 
quoting Viv proves what exactly?
He was probably showing respect for a man who was toothless against them. Only won 1 game vs Windies and that too in the 90's.
Lets not kid ourselves here, he was a non entity as far as the Windies were concerned. Even Tendulkar once hailed Cronje, what does that prove?



:))) get real.

I'm sorry for your ignorance.
 
But even Botham will not make into a good batting unit based on his batting alone.

Fourteen test centuries in a very strong bowling era say otherwise. As I said, compare his numbers with those of Allan Lamb, who was in the side for his batting alone.
 
Don't know where this asumption about Imran being poor in fielding came from, just because Botham had alot more catches.

IK was an ordinary fielder and has nothing to do with Botham's catches. I saw last few years of him. I mostly remember missed run outs, dropped catches and throws at wrong end by IK when he used to mainly field at mid-on. I still remember him dropping a catch when Wasim was on hat trick. Wasim would have killed the guy if it was some one else.

Yaah, he was on wrong side of age then but he was really ordinary in those years. He may have been an decent fielder earlier but I have never heard from anyone who watched his entire career that IK was a good fielder.
 
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Fourteen test centuries in a very strong bowling era say otherwise. As I said, compare his numbers with those of Allan Lamb, who was in the side for his batting alone.

I was mainly talking about some strong batting units like SA has right now or India had few years ago or great Aus team or Current Eng side. I am not sure even Botham will make into those sides for his batting alone.

In an Average batting unit, he will make it. For example, he will surely make into current WI, NZ, PAK and so on... I am taking account of stronger bowling era and his performance with 14 test centuries.
 
IK was an ordinary fielder and has nothing to do with Botham's catches. I saw last few years of him. I mostly remember missed run outs, dropped catches and throws at wrong end by IK when he used to mainly field at mid-on. I still remember him dropping a catch when Wasim was on hat trick. Wasim would have killed the guy if it was some one else.

Yaah, he was on wrong side of age then but he was really ordinary in those years. He may have been an average fielder earlier but I have never heard from anyone who watched his entire career that IK was a good fielder.

Yep I have seen the video of him dropping a Wasim hatrick wicket, he may've been an ordinary fielder as you say, but afew end years can't form an overall basis of a player's prowess, especially one in which matches are so spread out overa 21year span.
 
Yep I have seen the video of him dropping a Wasim hatrick wicket, he may've been an ordinary fielder as you say, but afew end years can't form an overall basis of a player's prowess, especially one in which matches are so spread out overa 21year span.

I can't really vouch for his fielding earlier but based on what I saw in his last few years and what I have read/heard, it seems he wasn't a good fielder. But then fielding was not really a focus for most cricketers back then. I may be penalizing him a bit due to gotten used to much higher standards of fielding in last 10-15 years and due to comparison with other 3 all rounders. Kapil and Botham took some fantastic catches and both were very safe fielder. Hadlee was not bad in gully for NZ. IK was probably just an average fielder for his era.
 
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I can't really vouch for his fielding earlier but based on what I saw in his last few years and what I have read/heard, it seems he wasn't a good fielder. But then fielding was not really a focus for most cricketers back then. I may be penalizing him a bit due to gotten used to much higher standards of fielding in last 10-15 years and due to comparison with other 3 all rounders. Kapil and Botham took some fantastic catches and both were very safe fielder. Hadlee was not bad in gully for NZ. IK was probably just an average fielder for his era.

Could you share what you have read, so all of us can be enlightened?
 
I just think that as much as Imran worked on his batting (as his body couldn't support express pace's demands - ended up becoming one of the best statistical Test batsmen of the late 80s), Botham was somehow lazy and had he retired a bit earlier perhaps he would show better figures as of now ?

Imran was always a good batsman but a strong Pakistani batting order meant he batted at number 8. It was only after the retirements of Mushtaq and Asif that he started getting windows to bat and after becoming captain, started batting on his own terms.

He would make big scores in county cricket and then made to bat low down in the Pakistani line-up.

He was bowling genuinely fast till early 1989 even though he had lost his sting after the 1988 West Indies series (at the age of 35 and having lost two years to a career-threatening injury). Even before that, he played twice as a specialist batsman - in Australia and in the World Cup - and was at one point averaging almost 40 in ODIs (when he played purely as a batsman and higher up the order).
 
I'd say that the 1980s was a higher standard of cricket than the current era.

Packer cricket wasn't in the 1980s. The only significant bowlers the Aussies lost in 1984 were Alderman and maybe Hogg and Rackemann. India were stronger then than in this millenium because they had Kapil Dev. There were no minnow sides because SL hardly played until the 1990s, and NZ were lifted so far by Hadlee - indeed in 1986 you could argue that they were #2 after WI.

Hadlee alone was not the key - all the matches they won had another very, very important factor: Martin Crowe.

In fact, if I recall correctly, he could not take a single wicket in New Zealand's first win in England.

Martin Crowe and Hadlee together - were the key and they made New Zealand unbeatable at home.
 
Kapil Dev a better batsman than Imran?

Yes but not by much. IK had a great defensive technique. Both contributed similar amount of runs for their team per inning. Kapil had an ability to dictate the terms. It's subjective so people may have different opinion but I will be more scared of Kapil coming at 7 than IK. Botham was comfortably better than both.

Could you share what you have read, so all of us can be enlightened?

I don't recall reference for those but there isn't much to talk there.
 
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One thing lot of posters may miss due to looking at Botham's career figure. He was not really great in last few years but questions is here about peak & all round ability. I am not going to bother finding exact peak but just for reference ,

Botham in first 50 Tests matches as an all rounder:

- 10 Centuries and batting avg of 36.45
- 19 five wickets hauls at an avg of 22.89

If am remembering correctly, only Botham has 10+ centuries & 10+ five wickets hauls in entire history.


The fastest in the history of Test cricket (in # of matches) to get the "doubles" of,

1,000 runs and 100 wickets
2,000 runs and 200 wickets
3,000 runs and 300 wickets.

The first player to score a century and take 10 wickets in the same Test match. He surely went downhill later but he did bring his A game with bat and ball both in the same period. A 5-fer and scoring a hundred in the same test has been done only 26 times in history. Few all rounders have done it 1-2 times. Botham did it 5 times - Twice against NZ and one time against PAK, IND and AUS. Most of his performances came before his decline.
 
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no....tests and onedayers combined Kapil was better than Botham and equal to Imran

Kapil was a better all rounder in ODI but if you combine the test format then IK is comfortably better due to his bowling in test format. IK is an ATG bowler and ATG all-rounder. Kapil is an ATG all rounder but not an ATG bowler.
 
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dont be sorry, i'm the one who should be for yours. Have you seen his record against the Windies?

Yes, and I watched many of those matches. Half the time he got out due to overconfidence rather than WI bowling skill. Botham's confidence was a double-edged sword because he truly believed that he could larrup the likes of Holding, Marshall and Garner. It was frustrating because you knew that if he reined himself in a bit he was likely to score heavily. Clive Lloyd knew that and sometimes would take one of his quicks off and put Richards on to tempt Botham to smash it.

Hadlee alone was not the key - all the matches they won had another very, very important factor: Martin Crowe.

In fact, if I recall correctly, he could not take a single wicket in New Zealand's first win in England.

Martin Crowe and Hadlee together - were the key and they made New Zealand unbeatable at home.

True, but IIRC he was there creating pressure so that the England batters got out to Chatfield and Cairns.

They certainly benefitted from Crowe as a shot-player. Wright at the top of the order was another unsung hero.
 
In a way this is very similar to a debate about A. Gilchrist i.e. would he make a team based on his batting alone? I dont think so. People need to understand what a batsman is and his role.

A batsman for me is a player good enough to survive the new ball, a good enough technique, be able to play up the order when required.
A player capable of coming in at 20/3 after 15 overs and good enough to withstand that pressure. I'm not necessarily saying everyone should be a top order bat, but they should be good enough to fill that position e.g Faf and Dumminy are lower order bats and are good enough to step up the order should Kallis be injured.

Would Botham and Gilly be good enough for that? I dont think so, and therefore i cant consider those type of players as specialist batsman.
Its easy wanting to attack each and every ball to the boundary when batting is not your primary job.
They had "free roles" in the side with no pressure whatsoever in the batting department.

Some valid points, but you have to consider Gilly changed the matches with his bat when Australia were 100-5 also. Tell me which other no. 7 batsman had done it ? Also he averaged 50 batting at no. 3 and 103 batting at no. 5..

You would like to have a look at some of his Test innings when Australia was under pressure and how he took the match away from the opposition.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/64072.html
http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63855.html
http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63919.html
http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63979.html

There may be more, but I think these 4 should be enough to prove he bailed Aus out of trouble on his own a number of times.

He scored 17 hundreds overall.
 
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Yes, and I watched many of those matches. Half the time he got out due to overconfidence rather than WI bowling skill. Botham's confidence was a double-edged sword because he truly believed that he could larrup the likes of Holding, Marshall and Garner. It was frustrating because you knew that if he reined himself in a bit he was likely to score heavily. Clive Lloyd knew that and sometimes would take one of his quicks off and put Richards on to tempt Botham to smash it.



True, but IIRC he was there creating pressure so that the England batters got out to Chatfield and Cairns.

They certainly benefitted from Crowe as a shot-player. Wright at the top of the order was another unsung hero.

then i could use the same logic on many players. What about his toothless bowling against them?
Which ever way you look at it he failed against them. Thats non negotiable.
Viv was merely showing respect for a man who failed against him. Maybe he regrets that he was never good enough to trouble them, thus never saw Botham at his destructive best.
 
Some valid points, but you have to consider Gilly changed the matches with his bat when Australia were 100-5 also. Tell me which other no. 7 batsman had done it ? Also he averaged 50 batting at no. 3 and 103 batting at no. 5..

You would like to have a look at some of his Test innings when Australia was under pressure and how he took the match away from the opposition.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/64072.html
http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63855.html
http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63919.html
http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63979.html

There may be more, but I think these 4 should be enough to prove he bailed Aus out of trouble on his own a number of times.

He scored 17 hundreds overall.

we already discussed Gilly at large.
Coming in at 100/5 is completely different to batting in at 20/3 after 15 odd overs.

I'm not gonna go through stats again, one inning(s) stands out for Gilly up the order and that was against Sri Lanka.
I think he also made a 60 odd not out against England when Australia already had a huge 1st innings lead and batted aggressively and remained not out.
Elsewhere he failed up the order.
 
Well in batting , Botham > Kapil > IK > Hadlee

That may be true in terms of batting ability. In terms of an abstract quality called "batting intelligence", it may have been IK > Hadlee > Kapil = Botham, and so the net batting effectiveness was probably

Botham > Imran > Kapil > Hadlee overall. with IK being a more effective batsman than Botham from c.1985 onwards.

In a post above Akher called Imran one of the top "statistical Test batsman" of the 1980s which is a very accurate assessment. He may have had a good average later on, but was nowhere as effective as that average indicates, but still was more reliable and consistent than the other three.
 
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That may be true in terms of batting ability. In terms of an abstract quality called "batting intelligence", it may have been IK > Hadlee > Kapil = Botham, and so the net batting effectiveness was probably

Botham > Imran > Kapil > Hadlee overall. with IK being a more effective batsman than Botham from c.1985 onwards.

In a post above Akher called Imran one of the top "statistical Test batsman" of the 1980s which is a very accurate assessment. He may had a good average later on, but was nowhere as effective as that average may indicate, but still was more reliable and consistent than the other three.


Broadly I agree with this.

Botham could also play defensively on occasions - he batted all day against Imran, Wasim and Qadir for just 50, for example.

Hadlee wasn't good enough to play tests just as a batter, and conditions usually had to be in his favour for him to score runs. The other three were good enough to play purely as batters.
 
then i could use the same logic on many players. What about his toothless bowling against them?
Which ever way you look at it he failed against them. Thats non negotiable.
Viv was merely showing respect for a man who failed against him. Maybe he regrets that he was never good enough to trouble them, thus never saw Botham at his destructive best.

Botham's record against WI counts against him. Though I try not to use words like 'never'. I saw Botham take an eightfer against WI at Lords, then hit a rapid eighty the same day. (England still lost the match, due to a botched declaration by Gower and then a innings of genius by Greenwich on the last day).
 
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