Dubai: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday has expressed grief at the passing of former England captain Ray Illingworth at the age of 89. Illingworth, who had been undergoing radiotherapy for esophageal cancer, died on Saturday, leaving the cricket community in mourning.
“Ray Illingworth was a giant of English cricket and was one of England’s finest captains. He made an enormous contribution to the game, not just as Engla’d’s captain, but also as coach and chairman of selectors. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time,” said ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice.
Born in Pudsey, Yorkshire, a place between Leeds and Bradford, Illingworth, the off-spinning all-rounder, started his first-class career in 1951 at the age of 19, hanging his boots in 1983.
Illingworth represented England from 1958 to 1973, playing 61 Tests, scoring 1836 runs, and picking 122 wickets. He captained England to a famous 2-0 Ashes victory in 1970/71 in Australia.
He had a tremendous first-class career spanning 32 years, accumulating 24,134 runs at an average of 28.06 and taking 2072 wickets at an average of 20.27. He also led Yorkshire to three consecutive County Championship wins from 1966 to 1968.
After retirement, Illingworth turned to a broadcasting career 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. In November 2021, Illingworth had revealed that he was receiving treatment for esophageal cancer. He had lost his wife Shirley due to cancer earlier in the year.
In his memory, England players wore black armbands on day one of the third Ashes Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday.