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Friday, April 27, 2012

Charity and colourful exploits of famous allrounder

Hannibal crossing the Alps, in 218 BC, was one of the major achievements of the Second Punic War, and one of the most celebrated achievements in ancient warfare.

He was extremely famous in his playing days – curiously he could not see the greenish lawns or the cherry – he was colour blind ! – still he was the most feared all-rounder and could walk in to any team on the strength of either his bowling or batting.  

The news reports state that he has mouldy toenails – great because those are because of his 27-year pounding of almost 10,000 miles of the British landscape in a mission to raise £13 million and counting for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. His gargantuan effort in raising money for leukaemia research over the last 15 years has earned him a respect no amount of centuries could.  He is a great personality, a prodigious fundraiser for charitable causes, undertaking a total of 12 long-distance charity walks. His first, in 1985, was a 900-mile trek from John o' Groats to Land's End. His efforts were inspired after a visit to Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital whilst receiving treatment for a broken toe; when he took a wrong turn into a children's ward, he was devastated to learn that some of the children had only weeks to live. Since then, his efforts have raised more than £12 million for charity, with Leukaemia Research among the causes to benefit.

In April 2012, Beefy  again walked  to beat blood cancers in ten cities across Great Britain. Head down, knees angled slightly inward and massive calf muscles bulging with every relatively short, relentless step, the 56-year-old completed the 13.6 miles of  walk around Cambridge in less than three hours. A real motivation  for his fans.  Organized with military precision, he is known to lead from the front exhibiting his keenness and showing that he is thoroughly enjoying doing that.  

Sadly, the legend called off celebrations after completing a 150-mile charity walk to rush by helicopter to be by his critically ill mother's bedside just hours before she died.  The mother Marie, 85, died on 21st April night at Yeovil District Hospital in Somerset having been admitted due to an unconnected illness.

-         if you are wondering whom the post is all about – it is Ian Botham.  

Sir Ian Terence Botham OBE (1955) current commentator was a great all rounder  with 14 centuries and 383 wickets in Test cricket; Beefy was a good fielder in Slips too.  Besides his cricketing feats, he made 11 appearances in the Football League.  He was inducted into ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2009.

I remember seeing him perform in that One off Test at Wankhede in Feb 1980 – it was the Test to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.  Botham was in the thick of action taking 13 wickets and scoring a century too.  The England keeper Taylor was in the news – took ten catches in that match.    India having made 242 had England on the mat with five down for 58 and would have been worse -  Umpire Hanumantha Rao upheld an appeal against Taylor for a catch behind the wicket, off Kapil Dev. Taylor hesitated and protested at the decision. Viswanath, the Indian captain (the only time in his career) felt it otherwise; persuaded the umpire to rescind his verdict.  That generous recall gave fame to Vishy but cost India the match.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.


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