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Higgs dies aged 79

Ken Higgs bats for Lancashire during the first part of his playing career PA Photos

Ken Higgs, the former England, Lancashire and Leicestershire seam bowler, has died aged 79.

Remembered for his stamina and angular run-up, Higgs played only 15 Tests for England but claimed 71 wickets at 20.74. For Lancashire, he took more than 1000 first-class wickets and, after retiring in 1969, he was persuaded to return to playing by Leicestershire, for whom his last appearance came at the age of 49.

He was renowned for getting out top-order batsmen and his most successful series for England saw him take 24 wickets against West Indies in 1966. Overall, he took 1536 first-class wickets and a further 355 in List A cricket.

"We are deeply saddened by the news that Ken has passed away," Leicestershire chairman, Paul Hayward, said. "I had the great pleasure of playing alongside Ken and he was a truly great bowler who had a wonderful career record. Ken was well-respected by everyone at Leicestershire County Cricket Club and we would like to offer our condolences and best wishes to his family."

Originally from Staffordshire, Higgs made his name at Lancashire, opening the bowling alongside Brian Statham. He took 7 for 36 on his Championship debut and claimed more than 100 wickets in a season on five occasions. He was named one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year in 1968.

He won his first England cap in 1965, in Statham's last Test, and took eight wickets against South Africa. Alongside a knack for wicket-taking and a parsimonious economy rate, he produced a memorable contribution with the bat to help England win the final Test at The Oval against West Indies in 1966, putting on 128 - two runs shy of the world record - for the last wicket with John Snow.

The flags at Old Trafford were flying at half-mast on Wednesday, ahead of England's T20 match against Pakistan. A club statement said: "We are very sad to hear of the passing of former Lancashire bowler Ken Higgs. Our thoughts are with his family at this time."

Having left Lancashire in 1969, to be the cricket professional at Rishton and run a boarding house in Blackpool, Higgs was talked out of retirement by Mike Turner and moved to play for Leicestershire from 1972. He took 4 for 10, including a hat-trick, in the 1974 Benson & Hedges Cup final - although Leicestershire lost - and a few years later scored 98 batting a No. 11, during what remains a club record partnership of 228 with Ray Illingworth.

Higgs went on to captain and coach the county, as well as making sporadic appearances until he was almost 50. In 1986, his final season, he managed a 50th five-wicket haul.

A promising footballer, he was an England Youth international and signed for Port Vale - although he never represented them at senior level. He is survived by two sons, Paul and Terry.