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Bob Willis Birth Anniversary: Lesser-Known Facts About The England Legend

Bob Willis (AFP Photo)

Bob Willis (AFP Photo)

On his birth anniversary, here are some lesser-known facts about the legendary Bob Willis.

English cricketer Bob Willis was a right-handed, aggressive fast bowler and is their fourth-leading wicket-taker with 325 scalps in 90 Tests and 899 in first-class cricket.

On his birth anniversary, here are some lesser-known facts about the legendary cricketer.

1. Robert George Dylan Willis who is better known as Bob Willis was born on May 30, 1949.

2. He was born in Sunderland, County Durham, England, to Ted Willis and Anne. The family later shifted to Surrey when his father became a radio subeditor and then a news executive at the BBC.

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3. He studied at Royal Grammar School in Guildford. Besides cricket, Willis also actively played football. However, he was not much inclined to the most popular game in his school, rugby.

4. Willis added the middle name Dylan in 1965 owing to his admiration for the musician Bob Dylan.

5. Although he played many first-class cricket matches, he got his first break into international cricket in 1970-72 tour of Australia. He replaced an injured Alan Ward.

6. He was nicknamed “Goose" because of his unconventionally loose-limbed approach to the crease and notably long run-up.

7. With 325 wickets in a 90-Test career, he was capable of extreme hostility with the ball and was one true answer to the West Indian and Australian pace bowlers who dominated the 1970s and the early 1980s.

8. Ian Botham once described him as a “tremendous trier, a great team-man and an inspiration - the only world-class fast bowler in my time as an England player".

9. During 1981-82 tour of India and Sri Lanka, he went on to claim nine wickets in his first match in charge against India at Lord’s.

10. He assumed the role of the skipper at the 1983 World Cup, where England was defeated by India.

11. He struggled with knee injuries in 1975 before claiming 899 first-class wickets in the span of a 12-year career with Warwickshire.

12. After retiring in 1984, the year his daughter, Katie-Anne, was born, Willis decided to join the BBC TV Cricket and later joined Sky Sports in 1990.

13. In December 2019, Willis passed away after battling Prostate Cancer at the age of 70.

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first published:May 30, 2021, 10:57 IST