Ian Botham was one of the game’s greatest characters during the 1980s. Along with his heroic achievements and magical performances, there was another side of it which made him a controversial character. There were some controversies during his career that impacted his career.
He was banned for two months during the 1986 season for accepting taking cannabis during the 1984 New Zealand tour. Botham admitted to taking cannabis just after a wretched tour of the Caribbean. All newspapers and TV journalists expressed their disapproval and suggested various strict actions including life ban. It was a big issue at that time as there was a lot of focus on the players’ behaviour and their actions outside the ground during the tour.
During those two months, England lost Test matches against India and New Zealand, hence, Botham was back in the eleven as soon as the ban was lifted. Also at that time, his Test wicket tally was 354, just one less than the world record holder Dennis Lillee. It was the third and final Test against New Zealand at the Oval with England trailing the series 0-1.
On 21st August 1986, England won the toss and decided to bowl. Graham Dilley and Gladstone Small shared the new ball and New Zealand openers John Wright and Bruce Edgar batted without trouble and added 17 runs for the first wicket. Then, captain, Mike Gatting introduced Botham. After a ban of 63 days, Ian Botham came and on the first delivery got the edge of Edgar’s bat and the ball flew off the edge to Graham Gooch in the slip who pouched gleefully. It was a brilliant come back to Test cricket for Botham and it was perfectly described by Gooch who exclaimed, “Who writes your scripts?” Botham also equalled the world record of 355 Test wickets and brought Jeff Crowe to the crease.
Crow could survive only 11 balls as he soon became Botham’s 356th Test wicket. Ian Botham was back and how! It was a very dramatic moment from Botham whose charisma is still unparallel in English cricket. Botham finished the match with three wickets and an unbeaten 59 as the heavily rain-affected Test match ended in a draw.