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Former England captain Ray Illingworth dies aged 89

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Ray Illingworth, a former England cricket captain who went on to coach the team, has died aged 89.

Illingworth, who led England to a 2-0 series victory in Australia in the 1970-71 Ashes, had been undergoing radiotherapy for oesophageal cancer.

Yorkshire, the English county Illingworth played for, announced his death.

“Our thoughts are with Ray’s family and the wider Yorkshire family who held Ray so dear to their hearts,” the club tweeted.

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Illingworth played 61 Tests for England between 1958 and 1973, scoring 1,836 runs at an average of 23.24 and he claimed 122 wickets at 31.20.

He captained England 31 times, winning 12 of those matches, and after his playing career served as chairman of selectors 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 playing career spanned 32 years from his debut in 1951 to his final appearance in 1983.

Ray Illingworth’s top-level cricket career lasted three decades.(AP)

He finished with a final total of 24,134 first-class runs and 2,072 wickets and was named Wisden’s cricketer of the year in 1960.

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 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.

“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.”

AP

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