Bob Willis was everything you wanted from a fast bowler, says Paul Farbrace
Last Updated: 06/12/19 10:51am
Bob Willis was "everything you wanted from a fast bowler", says Warwickshire sporting director and former England assistant coach Paul Farbrace.
Paying tribute to the former England captain and Sky Sports pundit, who has died at the age of 70, Farbrace added that Willis was one of England's great fast bowlers and "cared passionately" about the game.
As well as playing 90 Tests for England, taking 325 wickets, Willis also spent 12 years with Warwickshire and helped them to win the County Championship in 1972.
"He was fantastic," Farbrace told Sky Sports. "When he retired from international cricket, he was second only to Dennis Lillee in terms of wickets taken.
"He has been one of England's greatest-ever fast bowlers and who would forget him charging down the hill in '81, Botham's Ashes, bowling the Aussies out in that fantastic series.
"Bob Willis was everything you wanted from a fast bowler. He charged in, he gave it his all every single day, and that was at a time before central contracts, so he went from running in hard for England in a Test match to then running in again in a county game.
"I think we all remember Bob for his passion for the game and that came through every time you met him and spoke to him. His passion for the game of cricket was fantastic."
After retiring from playing in 1984, Willis joined Sky in 1990 and forged a reputation as an incisive and entertaining pundit.
"Very charming man and a great sense of humour," Farbrace added. "He played his part brilliantly on The Verdict and The Debate programmes and he very often would get stuck into the England team at the end of a day's play, but he cared passionately.
"He absolutely cared passionately. Anyone who spent any time in his company will know that he was just a lovely, lovely man with a great sense of humour and very good company to be around.
"The people here [at Warwickshire] who knew Bob are shocked. A lot of people will have seen him on the television in the latter part of the summer and he's been a great servant and supporter to Warwickshire County Cricket Club.
"It will be a day of real sadness here, it really is. He is one of Warwickshire's true cricketing greats but a great man to go with his great ability on the field."