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Head On – Ian Botham: The Autobiography by Ian Botham

by Venky


A larger than life character, a show man and one of the most versatile all-rounders Sir Ian Terence Botham has carved out an enduring niche for himself in the world of cricket. While his remarkable exploits on the field with both bat and ball have endeared himself to a multitude of cricket lovers, his indiscreet escapades off-the pitch have often times led to embarrassing consequences to Botham as well as his friends and family.

In his bare all autobiography England’s greatest all rounder reveals his existence in a manner similar to that adopted by him while playing a game of cricket – no holding back! The result is a roller coaster ride coalescing triumph and tribulation. Whether it be describing his tempestuous affair with a waitress that almost rocked his married life or his immortal feats that savaged the Aussies in the now immortal “Botham’s Ashes” in 1981, Sir Ian comes out with all guns blazing. The attitude is the exact one that got him to wade into many an Aussie attack and in the process garnered rollicking outcomes!

Tracing his career trajectory from the time he was a hyper active toddler till he received his knighthood, “Head on” plunges head first into a diverse range of subjects. Divisive politics compete with delightful loyalties to contrive an absorbing read. Sir Vivian Richards gets a glowing mention and also a pride of place as Botham’s most trusted friend. The indefatigable Brian Close’s ability (or the lack of it) in navigating the motor ways of England behind the wheel of a car makes for some hilarious reading. As could be expected, the dour Ian Chappell merits only a passing mention and not so enviable one at that – getting flattened and being sent flying across a couple of tables is not an incident that would fill the gritty Aussie with burning pride!

Botham proves that he is not at all averse to blowing his own trumpet. There are many passages where the protagonist showers immense encomiums upon himself much to the exclusion of all humanity. But there are also grounded chapters such as the one dealing with Botham’s laudable efforts in raising funds for the Leukemia Research Foundation (“LRF”) via his popular “charity walks”.

“Head On ” is one of the more readable and enthusiastically truthful autobiographies and the tone and tenor of the language bears ample testimony to the grit, guts and gumption of the man behind the pen. Sir Ian Terence Botham might be seen in some condescending circles as the perennial bad boy of cricket, but as the records would unhesitatingly reveal, he will also go down in history as one of the most colourful, talented and candid players to have ever graced the game!

“Head On” – Pure Beefy!

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