England legend Bob Willis has died aged 70 on Wednesday after a long illness. The right-arm pacer represented England in 90 Tests and 64 ODIs between 1971 and 1984.
In Tests, he took 325 wickets at 25.20 while in ODIs he had 80 wickets at 24.60.
“We are heartbroken to lose our beloved Bob, who was an incredible husband, father, brother and grandfather,” his family said in a statement. “He made a huge impact on everybody he knew and we will miss him terribly. Bob is survived by his wife Lauren, daughter Katie, brother David and sister Ann. The Willis family has asked for privacy at this time to mourn the passing of a wonderful man and requests that in lieu of flowers, donations should be made to Prostate Cancer UK.”
Nicknamed ‘Goose’ for his unorthodox run-up to the crease, Willis was a fierce fast bowler of his time with the Headingley Test in 1981 being his finest hour with the ball. England were playing the catch up against Australia and then allrounder launched a counterattack with an unbeaten 149 before Willias took the centrestage, slicing through the tourists to finish with figures of 8/43, delivering an 18-run win.
He also captained England in 18 Tests.
After retiring in 1984, Willis built a successful career in broadcasting and was associated with the BBC and Sky
The England and Wales Cricket Board thanked Willis for his contribution towards the game, saying cricket has lost a dear friend. “We are deeply saddened to say farewell to Bob Willis, a legend of English cricket, at the age of 70,” ECB said in a statement. “Bob spearheaded the England bowling attack for more than a decade and took 325 Test wickets. He will always be remembered for his outstanding cricket career, in particular the dramatic Headingley Test victory.
“In later years as a broadcaster Bob was a perceptive and respected voice at the microphone. 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.”