Willis died at the age of 70 last night

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Former English fast bowler, Bob Willis, passed away last night aged 70. Willis made his debut for England in 1971 and played in 90 Tests in 13 years, picking 325 wickets and even captained the side in the latter stages of his career.

At the time of his retirement, Bob Willis was the second-highest wicket-taker in Tests, ending up only behind Australian quick, Dennis Lillee. Willis’ career-best performance came in that famous Headingley Ashes Test in 1981.

Australia declared at 401/9 and England were bowled out for 174 in reply. They were asked to follow-on and Sir Ian Botham scored a famous 149 in just 148 balls to take England to 356 in their second essay, setting Australia a small target of 129.

However, they did not account for Bob Willis. The pacer ripped apart the line-up, picking up 8-43 to bundle out Australia for 111 to give England the victory of a lifetime and a memory that was spoken about for ages.

Ben Stokes’ innings in this year’s Ashes, where scored a scintillating 135* to help England chase down a mammoth 359 in the fourth innings at Headingley was reminiscent of that famous Ian Botham century, and set in stone the notion of being England’s first proper all-rounder since the great man retired.

Willis was a beloved figure in England and across the cricket world, as he impressed even in his second innings as a commentator and pundit, and was covering games even as recent as England’s tour to New Zealand.

As expected, the tributes poured in for the English great:

Sir Ian Botham often referred to Willis as the ‘only world-class fast bowler’ England possessed and the world will truly miss that famous bowling action which many a kid in the 80’s tried to replicate.

Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @surreycricket