Bob Willis gave England his all and was phenomenal broadcaster
Genuine, down-to-earth and humorous – life was adored by Bob Willis and leaves a hole.
Bob was passionate about the game and he would have become a fantastic director of England cricket when he had not made such a superb broadcaster.
He has been such a bloke to spend some time together, and treating people the same across the board and knew he was to participate in cricket.
He owned some killer! Bob would sit in the rear of the commentary box scanning the paper with his glasses down his head, then look up and nail you.
A couple of years ago, some of these commentators were fortunate to visit Spain to an end-of-season golf trip and a bus travel particularly, after a few red wines, will stick with me because Bob held courtroom retelling a number of his best stories. I was actually in tears.
He was nothing like the often scathing person you watched The Debate and The Verdict – reveals he and Charles Colvile created their own. You understood that the persona you saw on TV was put on for this programme, As soon as you must know Bob.
Bob was desperate for England to do he wasn’t a pundit who wanted England to neglect so that he and his era looked.
The moment the likes of Stuart Broad and James Anderson went past him at the record of wicket-takers, he would wish to congratulate them; both of those players spent time with Bob over the years and you can see inside their reaction in the previous 24 hours or so that he meant a lot .
That was the anomaly. I remember giving himBotham and Agnew the three-finger salute after scoring a hundred against India at Lord’s in 2002 because I’d discovered them saying a thousand times that I should not be batting at three.
But at the stage, I didn’t understand him – and if he’s nailing you what feels like each day and night either on the policy or the highlights, so you don’t see what a lovely bloke he was.
Within a day of sitting at the comment box , he was seen by me in a totally different light.
Bob was an outstanding broadcaster who understood the theatre of the second – something such as we did for the Kevin Pietersen documentary, when you return through the archives, that you only truly appreciate.
His description of a single KP clip midwicket from Australia in 2005 evoking’colors of Sir Vivian Richards’ will always stay together, as would be the professionalism with which he prepared for the very first chunk of the 2005 Ashes. His description of the moment Brian Lara surpassed Sir Garfield Sobers score for the most runs in a Test innings has been word-perfect.
And he had been a phenomenal bowler, since he stats suggest – 325 wickets at 90 Tests.
I recall watching him . He was unique as an England bowler he had his own style: a zig-zagging run with the ball behind his back, long flowing locks and a glazed look, along with his arms held aloft in celebration when he made the wicket.
He had been different because England made swing bowlers like Ian Botham, Graham Dilley and Richard Ellison. Despite being riddled with injuries, willis was a genuine quick bowler.
If you saw him trying to pick up a tee and played golf, you understood how much harm bowling fast did in particular his or her knees. It is impressive he had the longevity he’d in the very best level.
Some of the Warwickshire members used to offer him a bit of flak near the conclusion of his profession and shout’he simply bowls fast for England’ but this was because his body was still failing for him and he wished to give everything for his country.
Everyone remembers the innings of Ian Botham but really it had been Bob’s bout of 8-43 that finished off Australia.
We’ll all miss him.