Bob Willis, hero of Headingley, inspired teammates with his excellence| Vic Marks

Former England fast bowler and captain helped turn around the 1981 Ashes before becoming an outspoken commentator

Bob Willis was one of England’s greatest fast bowlers. His 325 wickets from 90 matches place him at number four in the list of all-time English wicket-takers in Test cricket. Yet you would never have guessed that if you looked across the dressing room at the exhausted figure in the string vest after a long day in the field.

Willis had no right to be such a successful pace bowler. He possessed sparrows’ legs and wonky knees, which were frequently visited by surgeons; he had a pigeon-chest that was inhabited by half a dozen measly hairs and he was seemingly devoid of any biceps. Not even Heath Robinson would have had the gall to design a fast-bowling machine like this. Yet Willis, with his mop of straggly hair, which was often his most convincing sign of hostility, adorned the England side for more than 13 years.

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