The former England captain was the second-highest wicket-taker in Tests when he retired.
You would know it was Bob Willis who was bowling thanks to his distinctively long hair. As part of his delivery routine, he would stride 40 yards before actually bowling - a technique that worked wonders for him. Forever remembered as one of the most charismatic English cricketers during the 1980s, Bob Willis succumbed to thyroid cancer on Wednesday. He was 70.
Robert George Dylan Willis made his international debut back in the 1970-1971 Ashes and then went on to represent England in 90 more Test matches. During that time, he picked 325 wickets and upon retiring, was the second-highest wicket-taker in Tests, only behind Australian rival Dennis Lille. Among his fellow countrymen, only Sir Ian Botham, James Anderson and Stuart Broad were to surpass him later in their careers.
One of his best, if not the best performances of his career was during the 1981 Ashes or also known as Botham’s Ashes. While Ian Botham created chaos with his batting and bowling, Willis kept taking wickets at regular intervals, helping England win the series 3-1 after being down 0-1. He registered his career-best figures in that series in the third Test, claiming 8 wickets for just 43 runs.
His final playing days wasn’t that well. After being beat by Michael Holding, he announced his retirement, thus bringing the curtain down on one of cricket’s most illustrious careers. He then joined Sky Sports as a television presenter and commentator. This, however, wouldn’t last since his voice wasn’t cut out for the media. He tried his hand as an actor, appearing in three films: This Is Your Life (1991), A Question of Sports (2004) and 20 to 1 (2005).
Despite the criticism, he rejoined Sky Sports as a commentator and mostly covered the County. He was unforgiving with his opinions and criticisms which made people call him a ‘hyper-critical commentator’. He was admitted to a hospital in Sunderland with reports about his health slowly surfacing.
His family confirmed his passing and said in a statement that ‘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’.
England will face South Africa in a series of matches. First are four Tests, followed by three ODIs, then three T20s. To find out more about England’s upcoming matches, visit Betwala’s page.
READ MORE: Cricket Odds