London: Former England captain Bob Willis has died, his family announced on Wednesday. He was 70.
In a career that spanned 90 Test matches between 1971 and 1984, Willis took 325 wickets. He was England’s all time highest wicket taker at the time of his retirement and only Australia’s Dennis Lillee had taken more wickets in the longest format of the game at the time.
Willis remains fourth on the England all timers’ list, behind former team mate Ian Botham (383), Stuart Broad (471) and James Anderson (575). He also played 64 ODIs and took 80 wickets.
He was captain of England for 18 Tests and 29 ODIs before his retirement in 1984.
“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,” his family said in a statement.
Willis played for Surrey in his first two years of professional cricket and spent the rest of his career playing for Warwickshire. He finished his first class career with 899 wickets from 308 first-class matches at an average of 24.99.
He had needed surgery on both knees in 1975, four years after he had made his debut and still went on to become one of the most succesfull fast bowlers of all time.