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Bob Willis

English cricketer

Died when: 70 years 188 days (846 months)
Star Sign: Gemini


Bob Willis

Robert George Dylan Willis MBE (born Robert George Willis; 30 May 1949 – 4 December 2019) was an English cricketer, who represented England between 1971 to 1984.

A right-handed fast bowler, Willis is regarded by many as one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time.He is England's fourth-highest wicket-taker as of 2019, behind James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ian Botham.

Willis took 899 first-class wickets overall, although from 1975 onwards he bowled with constant pain, having had surgery on both knees.He nevertheless continued to find success, taking a Test career-best eight wickets for 43 runs in the 1981 Ashes series against Australia, one of the all-time best Test bowling performances.

He was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year for 1978.In addition to the Test arena, Willis played 64 One Day International matches for his country, taking 80 wickets, and was a prolific List-A (one-day) cricketer with 421 wickets overall at 20.18.

As a tail-ender, Willis made little impression with the bat, with a top Test score of 28 not-out (*); however, he managed two half-centuries at first-class level, and for a time held a record number of Test not-outs.

Willis captained the England team in 18 Tests and 28 ODI matches between June 1982 and March 1984.Under Willis's captaincy England won seven, lost five and drew six Tests, and won 16 of the ODIs.

Botham recalled Willis as "a tremendous trier.. a great team-man and an inspiration", as well as the "only world-class fast bowler in my time as an England player".

The editor of Wisden wrote of him in similar terms: "His indomitable service to England is handsomely reflected in his great collection of Test wickets.

Although often beset with aches and pains, he never spared himself when bowling for his country." Retiring in 1984 during a Test series against the West Indies, Willis found later work as a commentator with Sky Sports.

He formed a noted commentary partnership with Botham; however, Willis' relatively low-key style, in contrast to Botham's ebullience, meant that from 2006 onwards Willis tended to be used as a second-string commentator.

He remained an often-heard broadcaster, a published writer and an occasional critic of the modern game.On the occasion of England's 1000th Test in August 2018, he was named in the country's greatest Test XI by the ECB.

The Bob Willis Trophy was established in the 2020 English cricket season in his honour.In June 2021, he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame as one of the special inductees to mark the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship final.

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