Botham?s Century: My 100 great cricketing characters

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9780002189569: Botham?s Century: My 100 great cricketing characters

One hundred colourful portraits of the cricketing characters whom Ian Botham has come across in his eventful career and who have influenced the game for good in his time: from top players, umpires and coaches to pop stars, writers and philanthropists.

Among the cast of characters who will feature in Botham’s own Who’s Who of cricket will be top players such as Viv Richards, Brian Close and Shane Warne.

Umpire Dickie Bird and the late John Arlott will also have a place in Beefy’s Hall of Fame. Others associated with cricket include Mick Jagger, Sir Paul Getty and Nancy (who used to cook the lunches at Lord’s and was responsible for many a cricketer’s expanding waistline); and many more who in Beefy’s opinion have been a positive influence in the game during his era.

Witty, entertaining and controversial, these portraits are sure to incite a plethora of opinions from those both inside and outside the game.

Lavishly illustrated, this book will be a treasured item for all cricket fans in the lead up to Christmas 2001.

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Review:

England's greatest all-rounder, with a flamboyant approach to the game on and off the pitch, Ian Botham could be an irresistible cricketing force, and Botham's Century--his portraits of 100 of the people who had a significant impact on his cricketing life--is a typically entertaining "knock" from one of the great post-war sporting characters.

From fellow cricket legends such as Gary Sobers, Dennis Lillee and Viv Richards, through Test and county journeymen, coaches and physios, to today's stars--not forgetting the odd surprise such as Elton John and Ian Woosnam--Botham serves up a satisfying, readable blend of anecdote and opinion, accompanied by a selection of colour photos and portrait sketches. The tone is often light and in keeping with the knock-about style we associate with his appearances on A Question of Sport.

He [Angus Fraser] did manage to remove Brian [Lara] cheaply in a county match at Lord's and, feeling inordinately proud and relieved, made his way back to his fielding position to receive the generous applause of the Middlesex faithful.

"Oi, Fraser!" came a voice, and Gus prepared to wave politely in acknowledgement of the upcoming compliment. "You tosser! I paid to watch Lara bat, not you bowl. Thanks very much. I'm off."

That is not to say that Botham fails to ask the big questions, or avoids controversy--he reflects on serious issues such as cheating and match-fixing, and confronts his unhappy professional relationships such as the one with fellow all-rounder star Imran Khan. A touch of "great times, great mates" creeps in now and then, but overall Botham strikes an interesting balance between what are sometimes strikingly distinct appreciations of his subjects' professional and personal qualities. One suspects that one or two of these characters will not be at all impressed by the straight-talking appraisals found here, but for cricket fans, Botham's Century is a genuine pleasure. --Alex Hankin

Review:

An inventive concept in sports books: behind the punning title are 100 portraits of cricketing characters who made an impression on Ian Botham over his colourful career. Included are players, umpires and coaches, along with such non-cricket figures as pop stars. And the fact that it isn't just such cricketing legends as Viv Richards, Brian Close and Shane Warne that are evoked but even figures such as the Lord's cook Nancy (who prepared the lunches at Lord's - and increased Botham's waistline) makes this a highly unusual cricketing memoir. With specially commissioned portraits, the book is bound to do well, given Botham's celebrity and the publisher's timing (it's published to tie in to the conclusion of the 2001 Ashes series). Botham is a cricketer who has never fought shy of courting controversy, which guarantees that the book will not be anodyne. Professional cricket correspondent Peter Hayter may have been responsible for the actual writing, but Botham's voice comes across strong and clear, and it's refreshing to see a sporting title that is really unlike any of its predecessors - not an easy task in such an overcrowded field.

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Peter Hayter and Ian Botham
ISBN 10: 0002189569 ISBN 13: 9780002189569
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