David Gower and ICC pay tribute to ‘giant of English cricket’ Ray Illingworth

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The International Cricket Council has described Ray Illingworth as “a giant of English cricket” following his death on Christmas Day aged 89.

Illingworth, who led England to a 2-0 Ashes series victory in Australia in 1970-71, had been undergoing radiotherapy for esophageal cancer.

ICC chief executive Geoff Allardice said: “Ray Illingworth was a giant of English cricket and was one of England’s finest captains.

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“He made an enormous contribution to the game, not just as England’s captain, but also as coach and chairman of selectors. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

Ray Illingworth died on Christmas DayRay Illingworth died on Christmas Day
Ray Illingworth died on Christmas Day

Illingworth, who also enjoyed a hugely successful domestic career with Yorkshire and Leicestershire, played 61 Tests for England between 1958 and 1973, scoring 1,836 runs and claiming 122 wickets.

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He captained England 31 times, winning 12 of those matches.

An ICC statement read: “The International Cricket Council has expressed grief at the passing of former England captain Ray Illingworth at the age of 89.

“He had a tremendous first-class career, accumulating 24,134 runs and taking 2,072 wickets. He also led Yorkshire to three consecutive County Championship wins from 1966 to 1968.

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“After retirement, Illingworth turned to broadcast and was a part of BBC’s television coverage. He also served as England’s coach in 1995/96 and was the chairman of selectors between 1994 and 1996.”

Former England captain David Gower paid his own personal tribute, writing on Twitter: “I must pay tribute to my now late captain. Ray Illingworth was one of the great captains.

“His job was to ‘turn me from a gifted amateur into a gifted pro’. Jury still out on that but I will be eternally grateful for his support in my formative days.”

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