Ray Illingworth passes away


Tape Ball Star
Mar 20, 2010
I was watching StarCricket's pre-match show today, inevitably discussion moved to India's famous win at The Oval in 1971. India required 173 runs in the 4th innings to win that test and it took more than 100 overs for them to reach there!
Gavaskar said Ray illingworth's shrewd captaincy made India's target look like 1700 runs. Both Gavaskar and Geoff Boycott reckons he's the best captain they ever saw.That's very high praise coming from those two who have played and seen whole lot of cricket in the last five decades!!

Here's Ray Illingworth's record as captain, very impressive figures that!
He captained England in 31 Test matches, winning 12, losing 5 and drawing 14. Illingworth only captained England for five seasons (1969–1973) but this was a successful period in English Cricket. Under Illingworth, England beat the West Indies 2-0 in 1969, held a very powerful Rest of the World side to 3-1 in 1970, won the Ashes in Australia in 1970-71, beat Pakistan in 1971, somewhat surprisingly lost to India in 1971 but then regrouped and held on to the Ashes in a tight series in 1972 before eventually losing to a very powerful West Indies team in 1973.

Before 12 years old and 14 years old kids starts attacking OP, let me clarify it's a mere query on the basis of opinions from those pundits.
Honestly, didn't know about him. Story sounds quite interesting. Must have been a smart leader
Former England captain Ray Illingworth has passed away at the age of 89.

Illingworth played in 61 Tests for England from 1958 to 1973, taking 122 wickets and hitting two centuries.
Sad to hear Hes been struggling with a cancer for a while

Yes by all accounts he was a very good leader for england and a legend in county cricket for yorkshire
Might have been good captain. Looks like Dharmasena level player from numbers. Cricket in that era was amateurish so could get away with specialist captains
Died on Christmas Day.

Shrewd skipper. Crafty off-spinner. Knott and Illy often bailed England out with the bat at #7 and #8.

Bad chairman of selectors though. Blamed his players for failure, and handled matchwinner Devon Malcolm very badly.
His greatest moment in an England shirt was probably winning the Ashes away, powered by Boycott’s runs and Snow’s wickets.

Most of his side would walk into the current England team.
Mods please change the thread title.

I was too young to have seen Ray Illingworth's captaincy career, but he's one of the few English captains to win an Ashes series in Australia. It's crazy to think there was a 7 (!) Test series as there was in 1970-71. He was a very successful County captain too with people like Ian Chappell rating him highly despite not being a standout player.

Instead most people here will probably remember him as one of the many doomed England selectors and coaches in the 1990s who tried to arrest the team's decline.

He was a very old-school guy and his blunt style of man management was ill suited for the modern player.

Sadly he had a long battle with cancer. RIP.
Mods please change the thread title.


Always heard he was a tough competitor in true Yorkshire style.

I remember his commentary which wasn't the best.

RIP. Condolences to his family.
Great captain, lousy coach. Tried his best to destroy the careers of Angus Fraser, Alec Stewart, and Robin Smith. Unfortunately for Smith, he was never given a chance after the 1996 tour to South Africa. The other two were backed by David Lloyd and ultimately had very good careers.
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<b>BBC — Obituary: Ray Illingworth, former England captain, coach and administrator.</b>

<I>Ray Illingworth, who was one of the leading figures in English cricket for the best part of four decades as player, captain, commentator, administrator and coach, has died at the age of 89.</I>

His forthright Yorkshire tones and confrontational style never left anyone in any doubt as to how he felt, but made him a well-known figure in the game, even among those too young to remember a shrewd Test captain who enjoyed a playing career of unusual longevity.

Illingworth began his first-class career in 1951, two months after his 19th birthday - and remarkably, it continued for a decade after he played the last of his 61 Tests, before retirement finally came in 1983, aged 51.

Soon, he was a sought-after television commentator, yet in his 60s, took on the role of England's chairman of selectors - even combining it with the job of coach for a controversial spell.

Born in Pudsey on 8 June 1932, the young Raymond Illingworth began playing at his local club in Farsley, where he would reside for nearly all of his life.

National Service in the Royal Air Force slightly delayed his progress, though he played for an RAF team which featured future England team-mates Jim Parks, Fred Titmus and Fred Trueman, and hit 56 on his Yorkshire debut in 1951.

An all-rounder, Illingworth switched from seam to off-spin in his late teens. In 1957, he completed a seasonal "double", passing 1,000 runs and 100 wickets (a feat he would match five more times in the next seven years), and England came calling in 1958 when he debuted against New Zealand at Old Trafford.

Bowling proved his stronger suit at international level and he proved his worth as a miserly spinner. He had to wait more than a decade for the first of his two Test centuries but he always sold his wicket dearly.

Illingworth was a stalwart of the hugely successful Yorkshire side that won seven of nine county championship titles from 1958, including three successive triumphs from 1966 before a contract dispute saw him leave.

After moving to Leicestershire as skipper in 1969, Illingworth led England for the first time that year aged 37. Initially a stand-in for the injured Colin Cowdrey, he kept the job as England were unbeaten in Tests for three years.

The highlight of his reign was regaining the Ashes in Australia in 1970-71, when England won an epic seven-Test series (including one abandonment) 2-0, as Illingworth got the best out of players such as Geoffrey Boycott and John Snow.

It proved a rancorous series, played in front of hostile crowds and officiated by what the tourists saw as biased Australian umpires - who did not give a single lbw decision to English bowlers in the entire series.

In the final Test at Sydney, pace spearhead Snow was warned for intimidatory bowling - and was then pelted with beer cans and grabbed by an angry spectator as he went to field on the boundary.

In response, Illingworth took his team off the field, and play only resumed after he was warned by the umpires that England risked forfeiting the match.

Illingworth's England captaincy, and career, ended after a series defeat by West Indies in 1973, the year he became a CBE, but he led Leicestershire to four one-day trophies as well as their first County Championship title in 1975.

Having brought the curtain down on his playing career aged 46 in 1978 (or so he thought), he returned to Yorkshire - without a trophy since 1969 - as manager.

But in 1982, he pulled on the whites again to captain the side for a further two seasons, bowing out after leading them to the Sunday League title in 1983, despite finishing bottom of the Championship for the first time.

He soon became a regular voice on the BBC's TV cricket coverage.

Illingworth succeeded fellow ex-England captain Ted Dexter as chairman of selectors in 1994, inheriting new captain Mike Atherton - and fining him that summer for the notorious "dirt in the pocket" affair.

But while Illingworth the captain had insisted on having the team he wanted, and clashed with tour manager David Clark in 1970-71, Illingworth the chairman found himself similarly at odds with Atherton.

The skipper was denied the players he wanted for the 1994-95 Ashes in Australia, or the 1996 World Cup in Asia - by which time Illingworth was also doubling up as coach and manager, having become team "supremo" after coach Keith Fletcher was sacked in 1995.

His man-management was questioned as he fell out with England players such as Devon Malcolm and Robin Smith, and was not always in tune with cricketers four decades his junior.

Off-spinner Neil Smith, selected as an unlikely opening batter at that World Cup, said of Illingworth: "As a new player I thought I might get a bit of input from Ray, but I didn't get anything at all.

"We had two discussions - one about Fred Trueman and Brian Statham, and the other about holiday homes in Spain."

Illingworth attempted to set the record straight by writing a book entitled One-Man Committee - and found himself charged with bringing the game into disrepute, which hurt him deeply.

Having lost the job of coach after that World Cup, with David Lloyd taking over, Illingworth carried on as chairman of selectors for another year before handing over to David Graveney in 1997.

He had a heart attack in 2011 during his second year as Yorkshire's president, and revealed in November 2021 that he was receiving treatment for oesophageal cancer.

At the time of his death, he was the oldest player to have featured in a one-day international, having led England against Australia in the world's first ODI in 1971.

— — —
The International Cricket Council has expressed grief at the passing of former England captain Ray Illingworth at the age of 89. Born in Pudsey, Yorkshire, the off-spinning all-rounder, started his first-class career in 1951 at the age of 19. 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.

He had a tremendous first-class career, accumulating 24,134 runs and taking 2072 wickets. He also led Yorkshire to three consecutive County Championship wins from 1966 to 1968.

ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice said: “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 England’s captain, but also as coach and chairman of selectors. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

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.
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I know v little of Ray illingworth as am from a different gen.
My dad used to say he was tough, uncompromising and someone who had a totally different perspective.
my dad also said ray illy made john snow, always said he was an astute captain, someone who had an eye for the unsual.
Looks like he was such a giant of the game, yet unappreciated or un hyped.

RIP a champion cricketer, respect from India.