Former England bowler Graham Dilley dies after illness

Graham Dilley
Dilley took 138 Test wickets for England

Former England bowler Graham Dilley has died aged 52 after a short illness.

The former Kent and Worcestershire paceman played 41 Test matches and 36 one-day internationals.

His best moment came in 1981, when he helped England complete a memorable win in the third Ashes Test.

"Few will forget his contribution during the historic Ashes win at Headingley in 1981," said David Collier, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

"Graham made a life-long contribution to the game of cricket at all levels and we are deeply saddened by the sad news this morning."

Dilley took 138 Test wickets at an average of 29.76 but his biggest impact came with the bat in that famous battle with Australia in Leeds 30 years ago.

His contribution of 56 to a 117-run partnership with Ian Botham helped England to an improbable 18-run victory after the home side had looked almost certain to lose.

After retiring, Dilley, a two-time Ashes series winner in 1981 and 1986-87, moved into coaching. He enjoyed spells as England assistant coach and England women's bowling coach before becoming head cricket coach at Loughborough University.

Former England captain Mike Gatting told BBC Radio 5 live: "He was up at Loughborough, helping the kids become better cricketers. He's been doing it all his life, passing on his knowledge and views on cricket and doing a very good job.

"He would sit down and talk to people about cricket. He was happy to do that."

Discussing their own relationship, Gatting added: "We played a lot of cricket together. He was a very good friend. It's a shock because it has happened so suddenly.

"[The Headingley Test] was one of the many things Graham did throughout his career. He was a tremendous cricketer."

Botham told Sky Sports: "I had a lot of great times with him.

"He had a good sense of humour and always wanted to be a part of the party. He was quiet and reserved until you got to know him. It's a very sad day.

"We both joined Worcestershire at the same time together, almost within minutes. We had a great run of about six trophies in five years.

"He was plagued with injuries - his neck and knees - which probably stopped him playing a lot more for England, but on his day he was the best."

ECB managing director Hugh Morris said: "This is very sad news for Graham's many friends and colleagues in cricket, both in this country and overseas.

"As well as being a bowler of the highest class, Graham made an immense contribution to our game as a coach - and his ability to impart his knowledge and wisdom to future generations of young cricketers will be sorely missed."

Former England captain Michael Vaughanexternal-link tweeted: "Absolutely gutted. RIP Graham Dilley."

England batsman Kevin Pietersenexternal-link added on the social networking site: "What an amazing guy Graham Dilley was. Always smiling & always helping spread his knowledge about our great game. RIP Dill!!! Sad day."

England bowler Monty Panesarexternal-link tweeted: "So sad to hear my university coach passed away. Graham Dilley - great man and top coach. He did a lot for me. Will miss him."

Worcestershire chief executive David Leatherdale, who played alongside Dilley for the county, added on Sky Sports: "Graham was a major part of the success the club had in the late 1980s.

"There are fond memories personally and from the club as well. He will be a sad loss to the club."

MCC head of cricket John Stephenson said: "As a coach, he made a huge impact as part of the MCC Universities programme, he was central to the progress made at Loughborough over the last decade and he will be much missed by all of us at the club."

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