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Bob Willis Wife Lauren Clark Age Everything To Know About? The 47 Top Answers

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Lauren Clark, wife of the late cricketer Bob Willis, is 52 years old. Meanwhile, Bob was 70 years old at the time of his death in December 2019.

Bob Willis was a well-known cricketer in England.

He was best known for his time as a member of the Surrey, Warwickshire and England cricket teams.

Bob came from a wealthy family, his father John Willis worked for the BBC. Willis also attended Royal Grammar School for his primary school years and was a member of his high school football team.

Bob Willis started acting at a young age. Later, in 1968, he began his cricket career with Stoked Abernon Cricket Club.

Bob Willis And Wife Lauren Clark Age

The late cricketer Bob Willis died in 2019 at the age of 70.

He was born on May 30, 1949 in Sunderland, England and spent his youth in Sunderland with his two siblings.

About his love life, Bob was married to his second wife Lauren Clark at the time of his death.

The couple married in 2014 and stayed together for five years until Bob’s death ended their marriage.

In terms of her age, Lauren Clark was almost two younger than her late husband.

Bob’s wow Lauren is currently 53 years old. She was approximately 51 years old at the time of Willis’ death.

Similarly, Clark is of British nationality and is of white ethnicity.

Where Is Bob Willis First Wife Juliet Smales?

The whereabouts of Bob Willis’ first wife Juliet Smales is currently unknown.

The two married in 1980 and have been married for almost 25 years. Juliet has been missing from the spotlight since her divorce from Willis.

Even when she was married to the late cricketer, Smales rarely appeared in public.

Bob Willis Cause Of Death: How D He Die?

Prostate cancer was found to be the cause of Bob Willis’ death.

He died on December 4, 2019 in Wimbledon, London, United Kingdom.

Also, according to PlayersBio, Bob had a net worth of $2 million. Well, at least his wife and family dn’t have any financial problems, on top of emotional trauma, as a result of Willis’ death.

Who is Bob Willis Wife?

Personal life. Willis married his first wife, Juliet Smail in 1980. They had a daughter born in 1984. He married his second wife, Lauren Clark, in 2014.

How long did Bob Willis have prostate cancer?

For Bob, it took almost five months between his inconclusive PSA test and the start of treatment because it simply wasn’t clear to medical specialists what they were dealing with. He died aged 70 in December 2019, three years and eight months later.

Is Lauren Clark married?

Where is Bob Willis buried?

English Ashes hero Bob Willis to have ashes scattered at Adelaide vineyard.

When was Bob Willis last TV appearance?

Bob’s final Sky appearance was in early October but, despite his deteriorating health, he was determined to keep working. He was very brave. It was like, “Bring it on, bring on the treatments.” ‘Two days before he died, he wanted to go to work,’ says Lauren.

A look back at the life and career of Bob Willis

A look back at the life and career of Bob Willis
A look back at the life and career of Bob Willis

Images related to the topicA look back at the life and career of Bob Willis

A Look Back At The Life And Career Of Bob Willis
A Look Back At The Life And Career Of Bob Willis

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Bob Willis Wife Lauren Clark Age: Everything To Know About

Deceased cricket Bob Willis’s wife Lauren Clark is 52 years old. Meanwhile, Bob’s age was 70 at the time of his death in December 2019. Bob Willis was a.

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Who Is Bob Willis’ Wife Lauren Clark? 10 Facts To Know

Talking about Bob Willis’ wife Lauren Clark’s age, she is 52 years of age in January 2021. However, the exact birthday details of the celebrity spouse are not …

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Lauren Clark Age, Birthday, Wikipedia, Who, Nationality …

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Who Is Bob Willis Wife Lauren Clark? Everything To Know …

Lauren Clark is the wow of late cricket player, Bob Willis. Clark was the second wife of Bob, and they married in 2014. Previously, he has tied the knot with …

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Who Is Bob Willis’ Wife Lauren Clark 10 Facts To Know

Lauren Clark is a celebrity wife best known for being the wife of the late cricketer Bob Willis.

Bob Willis

For other people with the same name, see Robert Willis

English cricketer (1949–2019)

Robert George Dylan Willis (born Robert George Willis; 30 May 1949 – 4 December 2019) was an English cricketer who represented England between 1971 and 1984. A right-handed fast bowler, Willis is considered by many to be one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time.[1][2]

As of 2019 he is England’s fourth highest wicket-taker behind James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ian Botham.[3] Willis won a total of 899 first-class wickets despite bowling in constant pain from 1975 after having surgery on both knees. He nevertheless went on to find success, conceding eight wickets for 43 runs of a Test career in the 1981 Ashes series against Australia, one of the best Test bowling performances of all time. He was Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1978.[5]

In addition to the Test arena, Willis played 64 One Day International matches for his country, winning 80 wickets and was a successful List-A (One-Day) cricketer with 421 wickets at 20.18. As a tail-ender, Willis made little impression with the racquet, posting a top Test score of 28 not-outs (*); however, he managed two half centuries at the top level and for a time held a record number of Test not-outs. Willis captained the England team in 18 Tests and 28 ODI matches between June 1982 and March 1984. Under Willis’ captaincy, England won seven, lost five and drew six Tests and won 16 of the ODIs. Botham remembered Willis as “a great trier… a great teamman and an inspiration”[7] as well as the “only world-class fast bowler of my time as an England player”. The editor of Wisden wrote of him in similar terms: “His indomitable service to England is beautifully reflected in his large collection of Test wickets. Though he is often plagued by aches and pains, he never spares himself when he is fighting for his country bowls.”[9]

Willis retired during a Test series against the West Indies in 1984 and later found work as a commentator for Sky Sports. He formed a well-known commentary partnership with Botham; however, Willis’s relatively reserved style, in contrast to Botham’s exuberance, meant that by 2006 Willis tended to be used as a second-row commentator. He remained a widely heard broadcaster, a published writer, and an occasional critic of the modern game.[12][13] On the occasion of England’s 1000th Test in August 2018, it was named the country’s largest Test XI by the ECB.[14] The Bob Willis Trophy was created in his honor for the 2020 English cricket season.[15] In June 2021, he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame as one of the special candidates at the inaugural edition of the finals of the ICC World Test Championship.

Early life[edit]

Willis was born in Sunderland, County Durham on 30 May 1949[10][18] and grew up in the Surrey village of Stoke d’Abernon, near Cobham, having moved there when he was six years old.[5 ] His father was an employee of the BBC; Willis had an older brother named David, with whom he played cricket in the garden, and an older sister.[5] In 1965, Willis added his third name “Dylan” by deed poll in honor of American musician Bob Dylan, of whom he was a fan. Willis was educated at the Royal Grammar School, Guildford[10] and played his early cricket for Stoke d’Abernon Cricket Club, where he later became vice-president and life member[21] and two seasons for the Cobham Avorians[22]. ] He was also an avid student footballer,[19] but he was not a born athlete and loathed rugby, which was the school’s dominant sport. Willis recalled in 2009 that when he was at school, “I used to play football with the old school boys in the winter when the muscular brothers were playing. It taught me how to drink cider and vomit it at Surbiton Station, and other life-changing classes.”[23] His bowling potential was rewarded with selection for Surrey Schools and Surrey Colts under Watcyn Evans, who would become a close friend.[5]

Player career[ edit ]

County debut[edit]

In 1968, Willis accepted an invitation to tour Pakistan with the Middlesex and Surrey Young Cricketers and took the opportunity to further hone his skills. On his return he made early appearances for Surrey’s Second XI, his first being against Worcestershire’s Seconds on 26 August. Willis, 19, took one wicket for 48 carries in the first inning and threw four wicketless overs in the second. He was not called upon to bat at all.[24] Two days later he faced Glamorgan and took three wickets. He played several more Second XI games in May and June 1969, [26] before making his first-class debut on August 6. Scotland toured England that season and had already beaten Warwickshire. Willis took three wickets on 13 carries from 13 overs in his first innings and two for 37 in his second to help Surrey win by an innings and 97 carries. Willis went on to take 22 first-class wickets this season at 5:22 from six matches, [29] and placed him 15th on the national average for that season’s county championship. Surrey finished third in the competition that year. Willis also played two List A games but took just one wicket at 52.00.

Only the size of Bob Willis ever encouraged the belief that he would become an international fast bowler. His run-up was intimidating, but somewhat preposterous… Yet, low marks for the aesthetic quality of his action notwithstanding, that long right arm, coming down and across at such an improbable angle, propelled the ball forward with a hot, steep impact and unusually threatening movement towards batsman.[6] – Wisden on Willis’ early prospects.

Willis had thus earned a second season at Surrey, playing 14 league games in 1970, taking 40 first-class wickets at 28.37 and 31 one-day wickets at 14.65. Surrey finished fifth in the championship that year. He produced a notable performance in the Gillette Cup Quarterfinals against Middlesex. In a high-scoring match, Surrey made 280 for the loss of five wickets. Middlesex seemed headed for victory as they went 240-3, but Willis turned the game and they collapsed, finishing 272-9. Willis took 6-49 in his 12 overs and won the Man of the Match award. Even so, Surrey’s fondness for Geoff Arnold and Robin Jackman kept Willis occasionally off the page. He was preparing to spend the winter at the Crystal Palace Recreation Center while playing as a goalkeeper for local football club Cobham. However, Ray Illingworth and Colin Cowdrey, captain and vice-captain of the England Test team, contacted him by telephone to ask him to travel to Australia to join the current England tour. Willis, knowing that Illingworth and Cowdrey had little knowledge of his bowling, later attributed his draft to the influence of senior member of the touring party John Edrich, Willis’s long-term friend, mentor and teammate from Surrey.

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International beginnings[ edit ]

Willis took part in England’s 1970/71 tour of Australia, replacing the injured Alan Ward, and played several warm-up matches for Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in December. Wisden reports that his “contagious enthusiasm and team spirit played no small part in Australia’s downfall” as England won the Ashes in the ensuing Test series. Willis’ first Test on 9 January 1971 – the fourth Test of the series, played when the series was level after two draws and one abandonment – ​​saw him score 15 points, not down as England batted first and 332 reached. In Australia’s first innings he threw a frugal nine overs for 26 runs while Derek Underwood took four wickets to reduce Australia to 236. Then an unbeaten 142 by Geoffrey Boycott gave Australia the 416 win. With John Snow beating Australia 7/40, Willis was given just three overs to bowl on a “no-pace” pitch, [36] but he managed to take his first Test wicket – Ashley Mallett, held by Alan Knott was caught for six. 37]

Willis remained with the team for the fifth Test in Melbourne, rewarding the selectors with 3/73 in the first innings and 1/42 in the second when the match was drawn. Of the last two games, Willis took three wickets in the Adelaide Test drawn and four more in the final game of the series, a win at Sydney Cricket Ground that gave England a 2-0 series win. Willis completed his first Test series with 12 wickets at 10:41 p.m. and had also made several “decisive catches”. He was retained for the second match of the Two Test series against New Zealand in March in Auckland, in which he took two wickets.

Surrey to Warwickshire[edit]

There was something enticing about seeing Willis and Snow in tandem for Warwickshire.”[6] – Wisden on a strong Warwickshire bowling duo.

Willis returned in early 1971 to help Surrey win the County Championship title that year. However, friction arose between him and the club. During the season, Willis took 31 championship wickets at 28.83,[42] but found himself unable to accept the contract he was offered by the club. Although the county was reluctant to lose him, Willis sought another club. He took two wickets in his final for Surrey against Hampshire on 11 September 1971. [43] After turning down Leicestershire and Lancashire he signed for Warwickshire, for whom he had instant success, with 25 wickets at 29.28, including one Zugs with five wickets (taking 5 wickets in an innings). Willis, who was banned from playing for his new county under the rules then in force before July, helped Warwickshire win the Championship in 1972, achieving the unusual feat of winning the Championship in back-to-back years with two different counties. In his final game of the season he took 8/44 to demolish Derbyshire. His new team won nine of their 20 games, drew eleven and lost none.[46] He was not selected for the 1972 Ashes series in England and traveled to South Africa in January as part of Derrick Robins’ XI invitation. On the tour, Willis took 13 wickets from six matches.

Willis spent part of the 1973 season injured with one of several recurring ailments. Despite this, he managed 43 wickets in the Championship at 18.95, although his injury prevented him from all but one test against West Indies cricket team. The West Indies were declared in 652–8. Willis took four wickets for 118 carries – the best Test numbers of his career so far – and was the last batsman to stand as Vanburn Holder and Keith Boyce routed England for 233 and 193 respectively. He then made his ODI debut with two games against the traveling side in September, winning 2/29 and scoring five points that didn’t fall out as England clinched a one-wicket win in the West Indies’ first ODI match. He went wicketless and conceded 5.5 runs per past in the second, which the West Indies won by eight wickets.

West Indies, Indian Subcontinent and Australia[ edit ]

Willis then traveled to the Caribbean as part of England’s winter tour, which Wisden described as an “automatic selection”. however, he should fight against the top test page.[5] He took just one wicket in the first Test on 2 February 1974,[51] followed by three in the second,[52] and one for a hundred runs in the final.[53] He fought in the West Indies throughout his career. His bowling average against them ended up being a 36.34, while he did not top a 26.14 against any other team.[54]

Willis then returned to England to face India and Pakistan, playing each in a Test. Against India he took 4/64 – a career best against that side – and made a Test best 24 with the racquet. In early August, Pakistan was touring, and Willis performed in a test. He took one wicket for 133 runs. He also played an ODI where he took a caught wicket and bowled as Pakistan scored a seven-wicket win. At this point, Willis was suffering from a recurring back injury. He played 13 league games for Warwickshire during the 1974 season, taking 44 wickets at 21.56, including a five-wicket move. In November, Willis toured Australia during the 1974–75 Ashes series, playing in five Test matches. He took 17 Test wickets at 30.70, including a best of 5/42, [59] out of 26 first class wickets at 31.19 overall. However, he toyed with growing injury concerns that required multiple painkilling injections.[5]

Injury and Surgery[edit]

Willis returned to England in January 1975 with a recurring knee injury that had led to a collapse at a county game earlier that season, and underwent multiple surgeries to correct it. He underwent surgery on both knees and suffered a blood clot postoperatively. Forced to use crutches for most of the season, he reflected in 1978 that it was “similar to 50,000 mile service”. His recovery was particularly arduous, requiring daily runs on the cricket pitch and an intense fitness regimen under the supervision of Dr. Arthur Jackson, a proponent of slow walking therapy to build endurance.[5] He played no role in the international arena in 1975, managing just four first-class appearances, although these returned a healthy 18 wickets at 18.77. He would not return to Test play until 1976, where he featured in two matches against the West Indies in July and August.

That year he had made a comfortable return to county play from injury – taking 16 championship wickets on 12/26. He also had a career-best 43 with the racquet. After getting fit from injury, Willis was included in the squad for the fourth Test against the West Indies on July 22 as part of sweeping bowling changes that saw Brian Close, Edrich, Mike Hendrick, Mike Selvey and Pat Pocock were replaced by John Snow, Ward, Bob Woolmer, David Steele and Willis. He took three wickets for 71 carries and then a five-wicket draw in the second innings. Both gave him the best numbers of his career and got him past 50 test wickets. His last four wickets came in 24 balls at the expense of three runs, described by Wisden as “a fine piece of fast bowling”. However, Tony Greig’s England struggled to make any impression on the West Indies through the series, with Viv Richards dominating the series with 829 runs. Willis was only able to take one more wicket in the fifth and final Test, which the Tourists easily won. At this point, Willis, whose injury woes were lingering, turned down a coaching opportunity in South Africa to avoid risking his fitness and went on unemployment benefits.

Revival in India and the Ashes of 1977

During the winter of 1976/77 England toured India in five Test series from December to February and it proved a revival for Willis. Wisden chronicled the India tour as the period in which he “routed anyone who doubted his right to be recognized as one of the world’s foremost fast bowlers”. Willis took 32 wickets for 15.09 throughout the tour, [66] 20 of them in the Test games for 16.75. [67] He took five for 27 in the second Test and then six for 53 in the fourth – earning him the best Test numbers of his career so far and taking him past 400 first-class wickets. Four of his wickets came in four overs with the second fresh ball “despite receiving no help from the field”. Wisden reports that “his 20 wickets in the series stamped Willis as a bowler with real pace and undeniable class.”

The 1977 Ashes took place between June and August of that year in five Tests in which Willis appeared. Ahead of them were three ODI fixtures over which Willis took a total of five wickets at 15.80. The first test took place on June 16 at Lord. Australia, who batted second and keen to take a lead over England’s 216, were dismantled by Willis, who posted a career-best 7/78. After a century by Woolmer, Australia fell to 114/6 with two more wickets to Willis before the match ended in a draw. Willis’ “enemy speed” was praised as “giving Australia a real fright”.[74] Wills took four more wickets in the second Test to help Underwood limit Australia’s totals and give England a nine-wicket win, and was in the third Test for his five-wicket move, the match in which Botham “quickly and accurately was debuted.[76] Willis went wicketless in England’s innings win in the fourth Test, however he took another five-for in the final match, including both Australian openers. His 27 wickets in the entire series was a record for an English fast bowler who faced Australia in England, and his last wicket of the series was his 100th [5]. Around these Test matches, Willis also made 10 county championship appearances, netting 29 wickets at 19.41. This included a draw of 8/32 against Gloucestershire on 20 August, [81] which would remain his best first-class numbers of his career.

The year ended with Willis on a winter tour of Pakistan and New Zealand. Willis fired seven Pakistani batsmen for 27.14 runs each, [82] although he did not appear in any of the ODI games. In New Zealand he took a further 14 wickets at 18.21, [83] including 5/32 in the first Test.

Wisden Cricket Player of the Year – 1978 [ edit ]

Willis made 10 championship appearances in the 1978 season, taking 37 wickets at 18.27. He was also third in the national average for the Benson and Hedges Cup that year with 16 wickets at 6.75, including four wickets for four carries in one innings. That year also saw Pakistan and New Zealand return to tour England between June and August. Although Botham took Man of the Series for his 13 wickets, Willis also hit 13 Pakistani batsmen for 17.92, including a five-wicket pull in the second Test. He also earned a Man of the Match award for his 4/15 in the first ODI.[88] However, he was also embroiled in a controversy over the growing practice of short-pitch bowling at the tailend batsman after Iqbal Qasim was forced to retire injured after being hit by one of his deliveries in the first Test at Birmingham. Against New Zealand, Willis took 12 Test wickets at 19.08 [90] and completed 150 career Test wickets with his 4/16 in the third Test.

Noting Willis’ successes against Australia in 1977, Wisden stated that “Bob Willis’ new ball firepower, producing 27 wickets, was of particular importance in England’s midsummer of success. No English bowler of authentic speed can match a record show in a home series against Australia”.[5] To be continued: “It was singularly appropriate that team and personal triumph should go hand in hand, for few players have served England as loyally and tirelessly as Willis wholeheartedly… Fortunately, determination is a virtue Willis does not lack, and His resurgence as a fast-paced top bowler was well deserved.” In all the top-flight games that year, Willis had taken 65 wickets by 6:41 p.m., the most of any season of his career. His 35 List-A wickets were also the second-highest he has for a season behind the 45 of 1983. Wisden also commended him for refusing to play in Kerry Packers World Series cricket, proclaiming him Wisden Cricketer of the Year along with Botham, Hendrick, Alan Jones and Ken McEwan.

1978–79 Ashes [ edit ]

In the winter of 1978–79, Willis traveled to Australia for that season’s Ashes series, which England won 5–1 against an Australian team exhausted by the rebellious Packer tour. The tour started with four top-flight games against South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Willis then rolled 1,123 deliveries during the test series and took 20 wickets at 11:05 p.m. In the first Test on 1 December 1978 he took 4/44 and 3/69 in an England win by seven wickets. He then took 5/44 in the second game on 15 December as England secured a 2-0 lead with a 166 run win [97] and no wicket as Australia after an abandoned ODI match on Boxing Day [94]. won the third Test to level the draw at 2-1.[98]

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The fourth Test followed on January 6 and England took Willis to a 93-run win by two wickets before attempting a repeat of the first ODI and abandoning it after 7.2 overs. England then played three first-class matches before a second ODI on 24 January. Australia, who batted first, was routed all-out by Hendrick and Botham for 101, Willis bowled a wicketless but economical time of eight overs for 15 runs and four girls. England reached the goal with seven wickets to save. In the fifth Test that followed, Willis saved 3/41 in Australia’s second innings, but with the bat he made 24 of 20 balls, with three fours and a six. With that cameo knock, he both surpassed his previous best test score, passing 1,500 first-class runs.

In the sixth and final Test, England took a nine-wicket win to convincingly seal the tie 5-1. Willis took 1/48 and managed to hit 10 runs with the bat. Willis “punched early and decisive punches” through the series, though he struggled for rhythm between the second and fifth Tests, after which he “suddenly regained his fire and rhythm”. In all of the tour’s first-class fixtures, Willis had taken 34 wickets at 20.47, although that was the English bowlers’ third-highest average. His tail-end batting had earned him 115 runs by 12:77.

World Cup 1979[edit]

In 1979 England hosted the Cricket World Cup. The hosts played with a 13-man squad: Captain Mike Brearley, Botham, Geoffrey Boycott, Phil Edmonds, Graham Gooch, David Gower, Hendrick, Wayne Larkins, Geoff Miller, Chris Old, Derek Randall, Bob Taylor (wk) and Willis . England, who had no warm-up games, played their first match against Australia on 9 June at Lord’s, which they “flew” past. Willis won a wicket for 20 runs from his 11 overs, beaten by Boycott – who would be an unlikely bowling hero during the tournament[108] – who won 2/15. Reduced to the pursuit of 159, England slowly went on, with Brearley’s 44 coming from 147 balls, and they finished on 47.1 overs. Their next game against Canada saw the visiting team routed for 45, with Willis winning 4/11 and Man of the Match Old 4/8. Boycott and Gooch finished the game within 13.5 overs. In England’s final Group A game on June 16, they beat Pakistan by 14 runs. Willis hit three fours in his 24 of 37 balls to help England to 165/9 and his one wicket for 37 runs, along with boycotts 2/14, helped England keep Pakistan off target.

England qualified for the semifinals against New Zealand. Willis managed to chip a run off his two balls as England reached 221/8 and then took a single wicket to hold New Zealand on 212. However, Willis was injured during the match.[113] He had left the field before the end of the game with a recurrence of his knee injury and was ruled out of the final which England lost to the West Indies. Despite missing the final, Willis won seven wickets in the entire competition for 15.57 runs each – which put him fifth in the bowling average across all teams, and his save rate of 2.44 runs per over was fourth best.

Willis followed his recovery from injury by playing the first, third and fourth Test matches against India, taking 10 wickets at 29.80. Between his international appearances he struggled with nine championship wickets at 42.00,[117] as Warwickshire finished fifteenth in the country.

1980, Australia and the West Indies[ edit ]

The winter of 1979/80 and the following summer saw difficult tours for Willis: the Benson and Hedges World Series Cup and a Test tour in Australia, followed by a home series against the West Indies. Willis attended all seven of England’s matches for the World Series Cup, however he was struggling with six wickets at 41.00. England secured the highest number of points but were beaten by the West Indies in both finals. In the middle of these matches England and Australia played three Test matches in which Willis took just 3 wickets at 74.66 and went wicketless in the third Test. On the county front, however, his position in Warwickshire was reconfirmed when he was appointed county captain.

Two ODI matches in England began the West Indies tour, with Willis being included in the team for only the second match, here he took two wickets and two catches in a three-wicket England victory. Wills then faced the West Indies Test team in four games, the first on June 5. He took four wickets on 82 runs in the first innings and five in the second – passing 650 first-class wickets, though the Man of the Match award went to Andy Roberts’ 5/72 and 3/57, West India, who wins by two wickets. The second Test was a draw, although Willis collected three wickets. In the third match, however, he only managed 1/99 and in the fourth Test at the Oval with the racquet, he achieved his best Test score of 24, completing 500 Test runs and helping to salvage a Test match that seemed lost by engaging in a continuous load -Wicket partnership of 117 involved with Peter Willey. The West Indies nevertheless secured a 1-0 series win.[126] Willis had marked his improved form with 14 wickets at 29.07, [127] and had fared better in the county championship that year by taking 27 wickets at 31.70. He had also won 23 one-day wickets that season at 25.95 [32] and in his first season as captain had the satisfaction of leading his county to victory in the John Player League just a year after they were at foot who had landed table in the same tournament.

1981 Ashes [ edit ]

Australia joined England in 1981 for the 51st Ashes series. Willis, selected for all six Test games, came into the series on good county form. He had played four district games, starting 5/61 against Yorkshire on 6 May and 3/58 against Lancashire on 10 June. The first test took place on June 18th at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. England, who batted first, were cut to 185 thanks to four wickets for Terry Alderman and three wickets apiece for Dennis Lillee and Rodney Hogg. Only Mike Gatting went over fifty, and Willis was fired for a first-ball duck. However, Willis combined with Dilley, Hendrick and Botham to reduce Australia to 179 overall, with three wickets for Willis. England failed to capitalize, however, as Lillee and Alderman shared the host nation’s ten wickets equally between themselves, leaving Australia with just 132 to win. Dilley took four wickets and Willis snapped Graeme Wood for eight to reach 200 Test wickets,[131] however the Tourists won the match by four wickets to save.

With his Test career in jeopardy for the umpteenth time, Willis with the big heart and vicious leap gave it all he knew. He brushed aside the cost of regular no-balls and bowled at breakneck speed to a shorter length and a straighter line than he had in the first innings. And suddenly Australia’s foundations crumbled.[134] – Christopher Martin-Jenkins’ assessment of Willis’ efforts at Headingley.

Between the first and second Tests, Willis returned to Warwickshire to face Gloucestershire in a County Championship match, grabbing three wickets. He returned to face Australia in the second Test on 2 July and England batted first. Thanks to 82 from Peter Willey and a second half century from Gatting, along with five runs from Willis, England reached 311 – despite Geoff Lawson winning seven wickets. Australia topped that and were dismissed for 345, with three wickets for Willis and three for Dilley. The English bowlers suffered from no balls, with Willis alone bowling 28. [136] England declared late in the game on 265/8 and Willis picked up another wicket when Australia reached 90/4 by the end of the game. Botham, who had captained the team up to that point, was sacked and replaced by Brearley. Willis, who was struggling with his fitness and had a chest infection, was dropped from the side. Er setzte ein Warwickshire County Match aus und nachdem er mit Alec Bedser gesprochen hatte, wurde ihm sein Platz im Team unter der Bedingung zurückgegeben, dass er in einem 40-Over-Match spielte, ein zweites XI-Spiel bestritt und 12 Overs in den Netzen warf. Diese Aufgaben meisterte er erfolgreich und wurde versuchsweise über einen Spinner wieder in den Kader aufgenommen.[138]

Der dritte Test – Willis’ 60. – fand am 16. Juli statt[4] und England konnte die Serie dank Bothams Leistung als Man of the Match (sieben Pforten, Jahrhundert und halbes Jahrhundert) und Willis’ feindseligem Bowling mit 1:1 ausgleichen zweite Innings. Willis rollte in Australiens ersten Innings 30 wicketless Overs und machte einen Run. Als England in seinen zweiten Innings weitermachte, machte er nur zwei mit dem Schläger, aber diese waren Teil einer 37-Run-Last-Wicket-Partnerschaft mit Botham. Anschließend kehrte er mit Australien zum Bowl zurück und benötigte 130 Läufe. An einem Punkt war England bei 500-1 zitiert worden, um das Match zu gewinnen. Willis begann eine “inspirierte” Bowling-Performance, nachdem er darum gebeten hatte, vom Ende der Kirkstall Lane bergab zu bowlen, sobald Australien 56/1 stand. Trevor Chappell, Kim Hughes und Graham Yallop wurden von nahen Feldspielern erwischt, während Rod Marsh und John Dyson am feinen Bein und hinter dem Wicket erwischt wurden bzw. versuchten, den Hakenschuss zu spielen. Dennis Lillee wurde von dem einzigen Ball erwischt, den Willis aufstellte. Dann, als Willis den mittleren Stumpf von Ray Bright entwurzelte, wurde Australien für 111 ausgerollt und verlor durch 18 Läufe. Willis nahm 8/43, die besten Testzahlen seiner Karriere. Zwei seiner Opfer waren auf null und drei weitere auf einstellige Beträge ausgegangen. John Dyson hatte mit 34 die höchste Punktzahl erreicht, bevor Willis ihn entfernte. Willey erinnerte sich an einen “erstaunlichen Zauber”[140], während Wisden es “das atemberaubendste Bowling seines Lebens nannte, als sein Platz wieder bedroht schien”.[4][141]

England zog dann 1:1 in Serie in den vierten Test ein. Alderman schlug erneut als Erster, Aldermans Five-For brachte England auf 189 All Out, wobei Willis 13 Runs machte. Dann warf er wicketlose, aber “stürmische” 19 Overs, “als ob der Teufel ihm auf den Fersen wäre”, und nachdem England Australien ein endgültiges Ziel von 151 Runs gesetzt hatte, holte er zwei Wickets, die zusammen mit Bothams Fünf-Wicket-Zug die Australier für entließen 121 und überreichte England einen 29-Lauf-Sieg und eine Serienführung. Willis spielte zwischen den vierten und fünften Tests für seine Grafschaft gegen Middlesex und nahm ein Wicket. Anschließend kehrte er zum fünften Test in Old Trafford zu seinem Team zurück. England erreichte 231, teilweise dank einer “unbezahlbaren” 56-Run-Late-Partnerschaft zwischen Paul Allott (52) und Willis (11), bevor Willis dann den Bowling-Angriff mit vier Pforten anführte, um Australien auf 130 zu beschränken. Ein weiteres Jahrhundert von Botham brachte England auf 404, was den Touristen 506 Läufe zum Sieg einbrachte. Yallop und Allan Border erzielten beide Jahrhunderte, aber drei Pforten für Willis und zwei für Paul Allott, Botham und John Emburey entließen sie für 402, 103 Läufe kurz vor dem Sieg.

Willis continued to enjoy some form with the bat with 33* against Nottinghamshire in the interval between the fifth and final Tests, though he went wicketless.[147] On 27 August, Australia and England met for the sixth Test at the Oval. The tourists reached 352 thanks to a century from Border, while Willis took four wickets and Botham six. A century from Boycott then defied Lillee’s seven wicket haul to take England to 314, and in reply Hendrick and Botham took four wickets each to set their team a target of 383 runs to win while Willis went without a wicket in the second innings. With half-centuries from Gatting and Brearley, England reached 261 before the match ended as a draw.[148] England were victorious in the series 3:1, and Botham’s efforts led to it being unofficially referred to as ‘Botham’s Ashes’.[140]

Willis meanwhile, travelled to India with England in November 1981 for a six Test series against India and one against Sri Lanka. He took 12 wickets at 31.75 against India,[149] and three more Test and two wickets ODI against Sri Lanka.[150][151] Between these international fixtures, Willis had secured 13 County Championship wickets at 28.55,[152] though Warwickshire came bottom of the table.[153]

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England captaincy [ edit ]

Willis the Elder, a dozen years on, unlikely captain of England, struck a memorable and almost perpetual pose in the isolation of mid-off, thin arms across concave chest, large hand propping that promontory of a chin, blue-grey eyes seemingly glazed against what became, in 1982–83 and 1983–84, a painful scene.[6] – Wisden’s assessment of Willis’ demeanour as a captain.

Willis began the 1982 county season with five County Championship fixtures, featuring his first half-century with the bat, a career-best 72, while leading Warwickshire against the touring Indian side on 9 May. He also took two wickets.[154] He also reached his 750th first-class wickets with his 2/71 against Yorkshire on 19 May.[155] India were scheduled to play three Tests and two ODI matches that tour; however, before the matches began, the England selectors dropped Fletcher, the captain. Willis, though seen as an unlikely candidate and ambivalent towards the role, was awarded the captaincy.[6] On 2 June, the new captain faced India as part of the England ODI squad, taking two wickets and effecting a run-out with the help of Botham, who also took four wickets. England restricted India to 193 and achieved victory by nine wickets. The second ODI match followed two days later, and England also won – this time by 114 runs with Willis taking 1/10 from seven overs.[156]

With two victories under his belt, Willis led his team to the first Test on 10 June. Batting first, he hit a career-best 28 runs in a last-wicket partnership with Allott (41) worth 70 – an England record against India – which took the hosts to 433 all out.[157] Willis then set about taking apart the Indian batting line-up with 3/41 and 6/101 to leave England 65 runs to chase, which they reached for the loss of three wickets.[158] Wisden described Willis as “bowling near his fastest”[157] and he took his 250th Test wicket during the match.[159] Willis took two further wickets in the second Test; however, centuries from Botham and Sandeep Patil, who hit Willis for 24 runs in an over, ensured large innings scores that pushed the match to a draw.[160] Botham followed with his career-best 208 in the third match to take England to 594 all out, and Willis then took 3/78 to keep India to 410. He then declared England’s second innings at 191 to leave India 376 to win, and collected the wicket of Ravi Shastri before India closed out the final day with 111/3.[161] Willis thus completed his first Test series in victorious fashion, with 15 Test wickets of his own at 22.00.[162] In 1982 Willis also led England to a 2-1 victory in a tight Test series against Pakistan, equalling his highest Test score with an innings of 28 not out in the first Test, sharing in a last-wicket stand with Bob Taylor of 79.[163] Willis was absent for the second Test, which England (captained by David Gower) lost, before returning for the tense third Test.[164] Willis was available for only three more first-class games that season, and finished it with a total of 24 wickets at 35.08.[165] In 1982 Willis also captained Warwickshire to the final of the NatWest Trophy, although they lost the final heavily to his former county Surrey.[166] He promptly travelled to Australia to lead England in the 1982-83 Ashes.[27]

Over the winter of 1982/83, England’s winning Ashes team travelled to Australia under Willis’ captaincy. Willis took two three-wicket hauls in two warm-up first-class matches; however, he was absent from two others and Botham took over the captaincy.[167] By now, continuing injury problems were beginning to plague the ageing bowler’s body.[6] He took 3/95 in the first Test as Australia reached 424 in reply to England’s first innings 411, of which Willis had made 26. Derek Randall’s century in England’s second innings took them to 358, and Australia reached 73 at the close of play on the final day for the loss of two wickets, both of which were taken by Willis, leaving the match drawn.[168] Willis picked up 5/66 in the second Test; however, Australia easily reached a low fourth innings target to go 1–0 up.[169] The third Test followed a similar pattern, with England replying with two low scores in the face of Australia’s first innings 438, and Australia taking an eight-wicket win to take a 2–0 lead in the series, despite Willis’ three wickets.[170] England achieved what was then the narrowest Ashes victory margin of three runs in the fourth Test at Melbourne, with Willis taking three wickets.[171] Willis commentated on the game that “You never give up and you never think it has gone.”[172] The fifth match ended in a draw, so Australia won the series 2–1.[173] Across the entire tour, Willis took 28 first-class wickets.[174] In the following World Series Cup between England, Australia and New Zealand, England were knocked out despite 14 wickets for Willis at 21.14.[175]

Willis returned to Warwickshire for the 1983 season, struggling in the county season with 21 wickets at 36.76 in the County Championship,[176] though finding more success in the one day arena with a career-best 45 wickets at 16.24.[32] He also led England in a four Test series against New Zealand, finding greater success with 20 wickets at 13.65 including a five-wicket haul.[177] This, coming in the second Test, took Willis past 850 first-class wickets and 300 Test wickets.[178] England won the series convincingly 3:1,[179] and returned to New Zealand over the winter. In the drawn first Test, Willis overtook Fred Trueman’s record England tally of 307 Test wickets when he dismissed Lance Cairns in the first innings.[180] England lost the second Test by an innings despite 4/51 from Willis.[181] With the third Test ending as a draw, England lost the series.[182] Willis, with increasing physical and mental weariness and now using hypnotherapy to reduce stress and focus his game,[6] took three wickets in the following ODI series, in which England beat New Zealand 2:1.[183]

England played a three-Test series against Pakistan in early 1984, however Willis was unable to contribute more than two wickets in the first match due to injury.[6][184] He made only five County Championship appearances, taking only nine wickets at 42.22.[185] Willis, with pressure mounting due to injury and poor performances by the England team, was sacked as captain before the upcoming Test series against the West Indies, and replaced by Gower.

As a captain, Willis subsequently received a mixed assessment.[6] Botham retained fond memories of Willis the player,[186] but remarked that Willis found it difficult to captain him because the men were of similar age.[187] Willis, often noted for his enthusiasm,[5] became an “effective motivator” as a captain; however, he was “no outstanding tactical genius” and “towards the end his feelings bordered on disgust at the conviction that some of England’s cricketers accepted failure too readily. Nor was he able to close himself off against media comment.”[6] He was also characterised as a loner in the game, and a reluctant captain grateful to be placed back within the ranks after repeated defeats while he was at the reins.[6] His 18 Tests as England captain saw 7 victories, 5 defeats, and 6 draws,[188] while he led England in 29 ODI matches, winning 16 and losing 13.[189]

Willis played in the next Test series against the West Indies, taking two wickets in the first two matches.[190][191] and before the last match played against Derbyshire for his county, taking three wickets.[192] Willis took to the field on 12 July for the third Test and took only two wickets for 123 runs as the West Indies, particularly Michael Holding, “hammered” his bowling – Holding hit 59 from 55 deliveries. Willis conceded 40 more runs from eight overs in the second innings, which Wisden referred to as “the death throes” of his career.[6][193] He announced his retirement from all cricket immediately after England’s defeat,[6] though leading Warwickshire in one last major event a few days later, the 1984 Benson & Hedges Cup final at Lord’s, in which they were defeated by Lancashire.[194]

He finished his career with 325 Test wickets, at the time second only to Dennis Lillee,[195] and 899 wickets in all first-class matches.[196] Only James Anderson, Ian Botham, and Stuart Broad have since surpassed his number of Test wickets for England.[3][197] Willis also retains the world record for most Test wickets without a single 10-wicket haul[198]

After retiring from playing cricket, Willis established himself as a television commentator on Sky. Willis appeared on BBC Television’s cricket coverage between 1985[199] and 1987[200] as a summariser before joining Sky Sports in 1990. When Botham joined the Sky commentary team, Willis was often in partnership with him in the commentary box. Willis’ “laconic style did not suit all” and he was dropped from the “front-line commentary duties”.[10] He also appeared on David Tomlinson’s This is Your Life in 1991, A Question of Sport in 2004 and 20 to 1 in 2005.[201]

Willis worked for Sky Sports, largely commentating in the county game, where he was vocal on the need for changes in English cricket, particularly through a group of former players known as the Cricket Reform Group.[13] He was critical of Mike Atherton during the England tour of Zimbabwe in 1997.[202] In 2006, he criticised the then England coach Duncan Fletcher’s practices,[203] England’s performance in the 2006-07 Ashes,[204] and was vocal in calling for the retirement of out-of-form national captain Michael Vaughan in 2008.[205]

Willis attracted detractors due to his somewhat melancholic style. The Independent commentated on the 1995 Texaco Trophy that Willis had “trenchant content, dismal delivery. As a player Willis had trouble getting to sleep. As a commentator he struggles to stay awake. His voice remains on one note – the drone of your neighbour’s mower.”[206] CricInfo’s launching of two polls on cricket commentary both returned negative views of Willis’ “hyper-critical” commentary.[207][208][209] Willis received only 15% of the vote, above only Dermot Reeve and Allott.[210]

In later years, after he was sidelined as a front-line commentator, Willis appeared on Sky’s The Verdict with Charles Colville and was still working for Sky until a few months before his death. “On Sky Sports Cricket’s The Verdict show, Bob would deliver assessments of players and teams every bit as brutal as his genuinely rapid bowling once was. In his later years, his role was that of the fire and brimstone preacher, dishing out ferocious tongue-lashings to cricketers, umpires and administrators alike.”[211]

Personal life[edit]

Willis married his first wife, Juliet Smail in 1980. They had a daughter born in 1984.[212] He married his second wife, Lauren Clark, in 2014.[18] Although born in Sunderland, Willis lived in Manchester as a youngster, and was a keen supporter of Manchester City F.C., having first attended a match at Maine Road in 1954, as well as seeing the 1955 FA Cup Final against Newcastle United.[213][214]

Willis died on 4 December 2019, aged 70, “after a long illness”.[215][216] He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer three years previously.[217] The Bob Willis Fund raises awareness of prostate cancer and money for research into the detection and diagnosis of it;[218] Bob Dylan is an honorary patron.[219]

See also[edit]

Notes [edit]



Printed sources

The Bob Willis Fund

Bob had noticed a decrease in his urine flow and a blood test showed that his prostate specific antigen (PSA) was slightly elevated.

He was referred to a urologist who believed there was nothing to worry about but suggested they come back in 6 weeks to be sure. At this point, an MRI scan and a biopsy were recommended. The results were devastating. Bob had advanced prostate cancer that had spread to his bones.

The PSA blood test can help diagnose prostate problems, including prostate cancer, but there are pros and cons. So while PSA testing can be a good predictor for many men at risk of prostate cancer, it didn’t work for Bob. His cancer was aggressive and fast-moving, and time elapsed between accurate diagnosis and treatment.

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