LONDON (AFP): England cricket great Ian Botham has sold off more than 200 souvenirs from his career at a London auction, with items from his celebrated role in a 1981 Ashes triumph among the most highly-valued lots.
The ball with which he took five Australia wickets for one run as England came from behind to win the fourth Test of that series at Edgbaston sold for £20,000 ($26,000, 23,000 euros).
And a stump marked “Headingley 81” from the previous match, taken as a souvenir by Botham after his astounding 149 not out helped England win after being made to follow-on, sold for £11,000.
His man-of-them match medal from Headingley — Botham also took six wickets in Australia’s first innings and then made exactly 50 — went under the hammer at £19,000, more than double the pre-sale estimate.
And yet the most expensive item in the auction, held at The Oval ground, had no connection to cricket.
A Manchester United shirt worn by Sammy McIlroy in the 1977 Charity Shield against Liverpool in Wembley, later given to Botham by the Northern Ireland footballer, sold for £23,000 — more than seven times its original estimate of £3,000.
Botham, 67, was one of the best all-rounders in cricket history during a 15-year Test career from 1977-92.
He scored over 5,000 runs in 102 matches, including 14 hundreds, and, as a fast-medium bowler, took a then-England record 383 wickets. He also held 120 catches, many of them brilliant efforts in the slips.
He transformed the destiny of the England-Australia Test series in 1981. With his side 1-0 down after a defeat at Nottingham and a draw at Lord’s, where he was out for nought in both innings, Botham resigned as England captain.
Then came his Headingley and Edgbaston heroics before Botham’s 118 — a whirlwind display featuring 13 fours and six sixes — powered England to a series-clinching victory at Old Trafford.
A noted fundraiser for cancer charities, Botham became a well-known cricket broadcaster and newspaper columnist after his retirement.
In 2020, the already-knighted Botham was appointed to the House of Lords in the UK parliament by then Prime Minister Boris Johnson following his support for Britain leaving the European Union.