Former England and Yorkshire captain Ray Illingworth has died aged 89.
The all-rounder, who led England to an away Test Series victory over Australia in 1970-71, had undergone radiation therapy for esophageal cancer.
Illingworth played 61 tests for England between 1958 and 1973, scoring 1,836 tests at an average of 23.24 and claimed 122 wickets at 31.20; he has been captain 31 times, winning 12 of those games.
He guided Yorkshire to three successive County Championship titles starting in 1966.
“We are deeply saddened to learn that Ray Illingworth has passed away,” Yorkshire County Cricket Club wrote on Twitter.
“Our hearts go out to Ray’s family and the extended Yorkshire family who held Ray so dear to their hearts.”
Born in Pudsey – between Leeds and Bradford – on June 8, 1932, Illingworth began playing at his local club in Farsley, where he would reside most of his life.
He began his first-class career in 1951, two months after his 19th birthday – and this continued for a decade after playing the last of his 61 Tests, before retirement finally came in 1983, at 51 year.
Illingworth played for Yorkshire during one of their most successful stretches, winning seven County Championships in nine years starting in 1959.
In 787 first-class games, Illingworth scored 24,134 points at an average of 28.06 and won 2,072 wickets at 20.27.
He moved on to television commentator before becoming England coach’s chairman in 1994 and combined that with the national team coaching post during a controversial period of 1995-96.
When he was England captain, Illingworth asked for more power in selection decisions. However, when he was a coach he did not grant skipper Michael Atherton the same privileges and the two men clashed frequently.
Illingworth suffered a heart attack in 2011 during his second year as President of Yorkshire and revealed in November 2021 he was undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer.
At the time of his death, he was the oldest player to have played in a one-day international match, having led England against Australia in the world’s first ODI in 1971.
Support for assisted dying
After seeing his wife Shirley die of cancer earlier this year, Illingworth offered her support for changes to the law on physician-assisted dying.
“I don’t want to have the last 12 months that my wife has had,” he said. “She had a hard time going from hospital to hospital and in pain.
“I believe in physician-assisted dying. As my wife was, there has been no fun in life for the past 12 months, and I don’t see the point in living like this.
“But we haven’t seen the death in England yet, so you have no choice, do you? They are debating it and I think it will eventually happen.
“A lot of doctors are against it, but if they were to live like my wife did for the past 12 months, they might change their mind.”