Former England captain Bob Willis passes away aged 70
Former England cricket team captain Bob Willis passed away at the age of 70 on Wednesday. The legend represented England in 90 Tests in an international career spanning 13 years between 1971 and 1984. He is best known for his long run-up. He was also a commentator for Sky Network. His family stated that he died after a long illness. Here are further details.
'We are heartbroken to lose our beloved Bob'
"We are heartbroken to lose our beloved Bob, who was an incredible husband, father, brother and grandfather," the statement read. "He made a huge impact on everybody he knew and we will miss him terribly."
Willis was a celebrated fast bowler in Tests
Willis, who was a celebrated fast bowler, claimed 325 wickets in 90 Tests from 1971 to 1984. His career-best effort was 8/43 to help England notch a famous victory against Australia at Headingley in the 1981 Ashes. He also captained England in 18 Tests and 29 ODIs before his retirement from all forms of cricket in 1984.
How Willis performed in other forms of the game?
Willis had represented Surrey in First-Class cricket for the first two years of his professional career before spending 12 years at Warwickshire. He finished with 899 wickets from 308 First-Class matches at an average of 24.99. The pacer also played 64 ODIs and claimed 80 scalps at 24.60. He also claimed 491 wickets in 293 List A matches at 20.18.
Willis was one of the finest of his generation
Willis went on to make his international debut aged 21 in the 1971 Ashes. Despite needing surgery on both knees in 1975, the pacer became one of the finest bowlers of his generation. He played another nine years and finished with impressive numbers. Willis' best moment came at the 1981 Ashes. He ended with 29 wickets in the series at 22.96.
A look at Willis' commentary stint
Post his playing career, the fast bowler made a switch to commentary like many of his peers. He went on to form a partnership with his former teammate Ian Botham on the Sky Network. He left live commentary in 2006 to work as a pundit on Sky Sports programmes. Willis spoke what he felt and often criticized current players, which many claimed as unfair.
Cricket has lost a dear friend: ECB
The ECB issued a statement and paid tribute to Willis. "The ECB is deeply saddened to say farewell to Bob Willis, a legend of English cricket, at the age of 70." "We are forever thankful for everything he has done for the game. Everyone at the ECB sends sincere condolences to his family. Cricket has lost a dear friend," it added.
Tributes pour in for Willis
Many present and former cricketers paid tribute to Willis via social media sites. His County clubs Surrey and Warwickshire also issued statements. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said India will miss a stalwart and offered condolences to the family.
'A lovely person with a great humor'
Gutted to hear the news of Bob Willis passing. A lovely person with a great humour who was so proud of England cricket. Legend. 🏴🏏 pic.twitter.com/g4AQcnRK4n— Stuart Broad (@StuartBroad8) December 4, 2019
'You shall be remembered for what you have done'
'Loved his sense of humor'
I wasn’t fortunate enough to see him bowl but loved his sense of humour and insights on the game.— Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) December 5, 2019
Heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Bob Willis. #RIPBobWillis