England Ashes hero turned commentary icon Bob Willis dies, aged 70
Former England captain and cricket pundit Bob Willis has died at the age of 70, Sky Sports has announced.
The pace bowler played 90 Tests for England and has been a popular figure in broadcasting since his retirement in 1984.
Willis’ family released a statement to Sky News which read: “We are heartbroken to lose our beloved Bob, who was an incredible husband, father, brother and grandfather. He made a huge impact on everybody he knew and we will miss him terribly.”
Willis’ family confirmed that he died after a long illness, leaving behind wife Lauren, daughter Katie, brother David and sister Ann.
His most famous moment as a player came in the 1981 Ashes series as his eight for 43 fired England to a remarkable win in the third Test at Headingley.
He is England’s fourth highest wicket-taker of all time with 325 wickets.
Willis’ former county Surrey paid tribute on Twitter, saying: “All at Surrey County Cricket Club are devastated to learn of the passing of former Surrey and England bowler Bob Willis.
“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”
Former England bowler Mike Selvey tweeted: “Just received the saddest of sad news. Bob Willis, great fast bowler, opponent, team mate, room mate, and wonderful bloke has passed away. Condolences to Lauren and family.”
Analyst and former Middlesex bowler Simon Hughes tweeted: “What incredibly sad news about Bob Willis. A lionhearted bowler, a brilliant pundit, hilarious story-teller and a loyal friend to so many. A major loss to our world. RIP”
Former England fast bowler Darren Gough said Willis was “hugely admired”.
“As a player he had a big heart, he’d run in, nearly 6ft 6ins, and hit the pitch hard. At his peak he was one of the best three bowlers in the world,” Gough said on Talksport.
“He was hugely admired all around the world. Everybody knew who he was.
“If you just saw him on TV people might think he’s a bit straight, but in his company over a glass of wine he would make you laugh all night.”
England team director Ashley Giles tweeted: “Such sad news about Bob Willis, he was a great man”
The England and Wales Cricket Board said that “cricket had lost a dear friend”.
“The ECB is deeply saddened to say farewell to Bob Willis, a legend of English cricket, at the age of 70,” a statement read.
“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 his eight for 43 in the dramatic Headingley Test victory over Australia in 1981.
“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.”
Teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed added to England squad for Pakistan Test tour
The 18-year-old could become England’s youngest ever men’s Test cricketer if selected in Rawalpindi, Multan or Karachi.
Matthew Mott believes Dawid Malan can make his way into World Cup defence
Malan was one of the few positives to emerge from England’s 3-0 ODI series whitewash defeat to Australia.
Justin Langer hits out at ‘cowards’ in Australia squad for media leaks
Langer departed in February after being offered only a six-month contract extension.
Flat finish and schedule strife – what did we learn from England’s ODI series?
The T20 World Cup champions suffered a 3-0 loss to Australia.
Luke Wright named new selector for England’s men’s team
The 37-year-old was part of England’s T20 World Cup winning team in 2010.
New era, stuttering form and World Cup win – England’s white-ball 2022 reviewed
England ended the year as world champions in both men’s limited-over formats.
England captain Heather Knight returns for forthcoming tour of West Indies
Lewis was unveiled as Lisa Keightley’s successor last week.
Matthew Potts has ‘point to prove’ to England Test selectors in Lions clash
The Durham seamer was overlooked for England’s Test tour to Pakistan.
England left to reflect on record ODI defeat against Australia
The hosts claimed a 3-0 series win just nine days after England’s T20 World Cup triumph.
India secure T20 series win over New Zealand after dramatic rain-affected tie
A slight fielding error from Mitchell Santner ended up settling the result, allowing Deepak Hooda and Hardik Pandya to race through for a single.