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Bob Willis
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Bob Willis

England
Bob Willis

INTL CAREER: 1971 - 1984

Full Name

Robert George Dylan Willis

Born

May 30, 1949, Sunderland, Co Durham

Died

December 04, 2019 (aged 70y 188d)

Also Known As

birth registered as Robert George Willis

Nicknames

Goose, Dylan, Harold, Swordfish

Batting Style

Right hand bat

Bowling Style

Right arm fast

Height

6ft 6in

Education

Royal Grammar School, Guildford

Other

Commentator

TEAMS

A case could be made that Bob Willis was the most courageous fast bowler who ever played for England. After operations on both knees in 1975, when he was 26, he seldom bowled without pain, and at one stage had to run five miles a day to build the strength to play at all. Yet through sheer willpower he sustained his career for nine more years, and emerged with 325 wickets from his 90 Tests. Fitting as it was the last game of any consequence he played should have been for England, it was cruel that the 1984 West Indian assault that proved his time had come took place at Headingley, scene of the his greatest triumph, the famous 8 for 43 that beat Australia in the Botham Test three years before.

Willis, a bony 6ft 6ins with sharp knees and elbows and a cascade of curly brownish-auburn hair, was a rarity among international sportsmen: no athlete in the accepted sense, his only aptitude was bowling, and that mainly through aggression and determination. But Frank Tyson was England's only postwar bowler who was clearly faster; and none, not even Fred Trueman, was a more intimidating sight than Willis as he charged, arms flapping, down his 30-yard approach.

On retirement he moved into the media, and for many years formed a strong partnership with Ian Botham for Sky Sports, and although his laconic style did not suit all, a sharp and humorous individual hid just under the surface. He found himself sidelined from front-line commentary duties in 2006, but forged an even more successful role as an acerbic pundit on the channel's post-match "Verdict" show, where he was able to playup to his doom-mongering persona. He died in December 2019, after a short illness, aged 70.
Cricinfo staff

Career Averages

Batting & Fielding
FormatMatInnsNORunsHSAveBFSR100s50s4s6sCtSt
Test901285584028*11.50257432.6300791390
ODI642214832410.3715752.860060220
FC30833314526907214.30021340
List A2931134861552*9.4601840
Bowling
FormatMatInnsBallsRunsWktsBBIBBMAveSR4w5w10w
Test901651735781903258/439/9225.2053.4012160
ODI646435951968804/114/1124.6044.90400
FC30847986224688998/3224.9953.30342
List A2931498384974217/327/3220.1835.501440
Bob Willis portrait
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Debut/Last Matches - Player

Photos


Alastair Cook, Graeme Swann, Robert Hutton (for Len Hutton), James Anderson, Joe Root, Bob Willis and David Gower felicitated as part of ECB's all-time XI
Bob Willis chats to his colleague David Gower
Tom Curran was handed his Test cap by Bob Willis
Sky commentators Bob Willis, Mike Atherton, David Gower and Ian Botham have a chat
Bob Willis attends Tony Greig's memorial service in London
James Anderson is interviewed with fellow 300-club members Ian Botham and Bob Willis