He served as England captain for 12 Tests in 1980, but was an unsuccessful captain, with 8 draws and 4 losses. He resigned after a loss and a draw in the first two Tests of the 1981 Ashes series, and subsequently scored 149 not out in the second innings of the Third Test at Headingley, a turning point as England went on to win the series 3-1. Botham took 5-11 in Australia's second innings at Edgbaston and scored another century at Old Trafford. The 1981 series is now commonly known as "Botham's Ashes".
A colourful character, he was suspended briefly in 1989 for smoking cannabis, and his private life has made occasional dramatic appearances in Britain's tabloid newspapers.
Botham started his first-class career with Somerset in 1974. He left Somerset in protest in 1985 after the county sacked Viv Richards and Joel Garner, and played for Worcestershire between 1986 and 1991. In 1992 he joined County Championship newcomers Durham until his retirement midway through the 1993 season. He also played for Queensland.
After his retirement as a player, he now works as a television commentator and has participated in a number of charity long-distance walks. He was awarded the OBE for his charity work.