Friday, December 06, 2019

Bob Willis in Australia 1970/1

Embed from Getty Images

In my tribute to Bob Willis I wrote that he had been
plucked from the obscurity of Surrey seconds to join a victorious Ashes tour under Ray Illingworth in 1970/1.
Matthew Engel tells the story more fully:
Willis made his debut for Surrey in 1969, but was still nowhere near a regular first-teamer by November 1970. Suddenly, aged 21 and expecting to spend the winter keeping goal for the Corinthian-Casuals football team, he was called out to Australia as a replacement. 
The England captain, Ray Illingworth, had never seen Willis play, but he said he wanted someone scary even if wayward, and the Surrey batsman John Edrich told him Willis was the man. 
There was no eight for 43 or anything like it, but he played four Tests, came second in the bowling averages, took some fine catches, helped regain the Ashes and generally made a good impression with his youthful zest.
In the picture above Willis is dismissing Greg Chappell, also playing his first series, through a gully catch by Edrich.

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