Tributes are pouring in on social media, following news that former England captain Ray Illingworth has died at the age of 89.
Illingworth - who had been undergoing radiotherapy for esophageal cancer before his death - famously led England to a 2-0 Ashes series victory in Australia in 1970-71.
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The decorated allrounder enjoyed a hugely successful domestic career with Yorkshire and Leicestershire, playing 61 Tests for England between 1958 and 1973.
He scored 1836 runs at an average of 23.24, and claimed 122 wickets at 31.20, while captaining England 31 times and winning 12 of those matches.
Illingworth served as chairman of selectors for England between 1993 and 1996 and coached the national team in 1995-96.
"It's always incredibly sad to lose a person who has given so much to the English game, and to the sport of cricket in general," England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison said in a statement.
"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."
Illingworth's first-class career spanned a remarkable 32 years from his debut in 1951 to his final appearance in 1983.
He finished with a total of 24,134 first-class runs and 2072 wickets and was named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1960.
Michael Atherton, who captained England during Illingworth's controversial stint as selector and coach, with the pair failing to see eye to eye, paid tribute on Twitter ahead of the Boxing Day Ashes Test.
"Hope England can put on the kind of tough, shrewd performance that Ray Illingworth would have enjoyed," wrote Atherton.
Saddened to hear about the passing of Raymond Illingworth … a man of cricket … a cricket man
— David 'Bumble' Lloyd (@BumbleCricket) December 25, 2021
Former England player and coach David Lloyd said on Twitter: "Saddened to hear about the passing of Raymond Illingworth ... a man of cricket ... a cricket man."
England's Ashes squad are wearing black armbands in the Boxing Day Test in honour of the England legend.
Ray Illingworth praised after long and successful career
Illingworth played for Yorkshire from 1951 to 1968, leading them to three successive County Championship victories in those final three years, before joining Leicestershire in 1969, remaining at Grace Road until 1978.
He returned to Yorkshire initially as team manager, before making his playing comeback at the age of 50 in 1982.
Yorkshire paid tribute to "the club's most successful modern day captain".
"We are deeply saddened to learn that Ray Illingworth has passed away," the county said in a statement.
"His success at county level was matched on the international scene, enjoying a long career with England as captain.
"Our thoughts are with Ray's family and the wider Yorkshire family who held Ray so dear to their hearts."
Leicestershire said on Twitter: "Everybody at Leicestershire County Cricket Club are deeply, deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Captain, Ray Illingworth.
"Our thoughts are with Illy's family and friends at this difficult time."
We are deeply saddened to learn that Ray Illingworth has passed away.
Our thoughts are with Ray’s family and the wider Yorkshire family who held Ray so dear to their hearts #OneRose pic.twitter.com/nvQa2f7RMz
— Yorkshire CCC (@YorkshireCCC) December 25, 2021
Sad news on Christmas day: Ray Illingworth, RIP
— Gulu Ezekiel (@gulu1959) December 25, 2021
RIP to an England legend, Ray Illingworth ❤️
— England’s Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) December 25, 2021
R.I.P. Ray Illingworth.
— SIR FRED BOYCOTT (@SirFredBoycott) December 25, 2021
RIP Ray Illingworth.
A great Yorkshireman and the only England cricket captain to ever win an Ashes series in Australia without losing a game. pic.twitter.com/BYCHAPID1m
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 25, 2021
RIP Ray Illingworth, the first England skipper I can really remember. He played 61 Tests between 1958 and 1973, scoring 1,836 runs at 23.24 and taking 122 wickets at 31.20. He famously led England to a 2-0 series win in Australia in 1970-71, captaining them in 31 Tests (ECB) pic.twitter.com/k98NpyI1Fj
— Historic Cricket Pictures (@PictureSporting) December 25, 2021
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
I met Ray Illingworth at his beloved @Farsley_cc to interview him. Took a few snaps too. It was around 2014. I had to wait 15 minutes as he was marking the boundary line.
Very interesting chat. He reckoned he'd have had 2000 more wickets had DRS been around in his era. pic.twitter.com/Wg0OZ2skdQ
— Boxing Day Test Badger 📦🎄 🦡 (@cricket_badger) December 25, 2021
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