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Bob Willis, fearsome English pace bowler, dies aged 70

SAMAA | - Posted: Dec 4, 2019 | Last Updated: 8 months ago
Posted: Dec 4, 2019 | Last Updated: 8 months ago
Bob Willis, fearsome English pace bowler, dies aged 70

File photo: AFP

Former England captain and fearsome pace bowler Bob Willis has died aged 70, his family announced on Wednesday.

Willis, who captained his country between 1982 and 1984, played in 90 Test matches with his most memorable performance his eight for 43 in the third Ashes Test against Australia at Headingley in 1981.

Star all-rounder Ian Botham would later describe his team-mate as a “tremendous trier, a great team man and an inspiration — the only world-class fast bowler in my time as an England player”.

Willis — who in 1965 added Dylan as a third name by deed poll due to his adoration of the American singer Bob Dylan — finished his Test career with 325 wickets, which puts him fourth on the all-time list of England wicket-takers behind James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Botham.

He captained England in 18 Tests and 29 one-day internationals before his retirement from all cricket in 1984.

He was appointed captain for the 1982 India tour of England after Keith Fletcher was sacked.

Willis was not helped during his spell as skipper as he had to do without key players such as openers Graham Gooch and Geoffrey Boycott and spinner Derek Underwood.

They were banned from international cricket for three years from 1982 for taking part in a rebel tour to South Africa.

He finished with a record of seven wins, five defeats and six draws from his 18 Tests in charge before he was sacked and replaced with David Gower prior to what proved to be Willis’ final Test series against West Indies in 1984.

“We are heartbroken to lose our beloved Bob, who was an incredible husband, father, brother and grandfather,” read the Willis family statement.

“He made a huge impact on everybody he knew and we will miss him terribly.”

The former international cricketer is survived by his wife Lauren, daughter Katie, brother David and sister Ann.

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Bob Willis, England, Fast Bowler, Cricket
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