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Cricketing fraternity mourns the passing of English legend Bob Willis

Although a lot of experts unofficially rated the 1981 Ashes as "Botham's Ashes", Bob Willis' contribution was as important as the great English all-rounder in that series.

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Bob Willis
Bob Willis. (Photo Source: Twitter)

One of English cricket’s most decorated and celebrated names, Bob Willis passed away on Wednesday in Sunderland, succumbing to thyroid cancer. The legendary fast bowler was 70 and was survived by his wife Lauren, daughter Katie, brother David and sister Ann.

Although a lot of experts unofficially rated the 1981 Ashes as “Botham’s Ashes”, Bob Willis’ contribution was as important as the great English all-rounder in that series. Having made his debut in 1970, he went on to captain the side for a while from 1982 till the end of his career in 1984. In 90 Tests, he picked up 325 wickets and was the second-highest wicket-taker in Tests at the time of his retirement.

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Willis’ family said in a statement: “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.”

Bob Willis named in England’s Greatest XI by ECB

On the occasion of England’s 1000th Test match last year, Bob Willis was named in England’s greatest XI in the format. After completing his cricketing career in 1984 post the Test series against West Indies, Willis went on to become a commentator with Sky Sports. Despite receiving some flack for his not so normal tone of speaking, he went on to become one of the finest critics the broadcasting giants had.

He was also a giant in the English County, having picked up 899 wickets in 308 FC games and also had a tremendous record in List A cricket, picking up 421 wickets. The Sunderland-born fast bowler was a part of three World Cup squads, reaching the final once under Mike Brearley in 1979, which they lost to West Indies.

There were some whispers about his ill-health in the last couple of days and once his family confirmed his demise, the whole of the English sporting community went into a sombre state. Popular journalist Piers Morgan called him one of the greatest sporting personalities of the country.

Tributes followed from the newly minted BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, who believes the whole of Indian cricket community will miss the stalwart even as the others also joined him soon.

Here’s how Twitter reacted to his passing away:

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