Ray Illingworth, a former England cricket captain who went on to coach the team, has died. He was 89.
Illingworth, who led England to a 2-0 series victory in Australia in the 1970-71 Ashes, had been undergoing radiotherapy for esophageal cancer. Yorkshire, the English county Illingworth played for, announced his death on Saturday.
“Our thoughts are with Ray’s family and the wider Yorkshire family who held Ray so dear to their hearts,” Yorkshire tweeted.
Illingworth played 61 test matches for England between 1958 and 1973, scoring 1,836 runs at an average of 23.24 and he claimed 122 wickets.
He captained England 31 times, winning 12 of those matches. He served as chairman of selectors for England between 1993 and 1996 and coached the national team in 1995-96.
“Ray was a superb cricketer, and his deep love, passion and knowledge for the game meant he continued to contribute long after his playing days had finished,” England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison said.
Illingworth’s top-level playing career spanned 32 years from his debut in 1951 to his final appearance in 1983. He finished with a final total of 24,134 first-class runs and 2,072 wickets and was named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1960.
The thoughts of everyone at the ECB are with the friends and family of former England captain, head coach and chair of selectors Ray Illingworth.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) December 25, 2021
Illingworth’s wife, Shirley, died earlier this year after battling cancer and Illingworth had offered his support to change the laws in Britain on assisted dying.
“I don’t want to have the last 12 months that my wife had,” he had said. “She had a terrible time going from hospital to hospital and in pain. I believe in assisted dying. The way my wife was, there was no pleasure in life in the last 12 months, and I don’t see the point of living like that, to be honest.
“But we don’t have assisted dying in England yet, so you don’t have the option do you? They are debating it and I think it will come eventually. A lot of doctors are against it, but if they had to live like my wife did in her last 12 months they might change their minds.”