JOHN SNOW: Ray Illingworth was ahead of the game and a true Yorkshireman

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JOHN SNOW: Ray Illingworth was ahead of the game and a true Yorkshireman – the old school cricket philosopher will be dearly missed


I was very sad to hear the news of Ray’s passing. As far as influence goes, we were singing off the same hymn sheet. 

You appreciated the fact that he was a very shrewd cricketer and reader of the game. When he set fields, you were happy they were being done to your way of thinking.

For the most part, he was reading the game without me having to worry about it. The guys went in the right place and, occasionally, he did something which was ahead of the game like putting in a fly slip for Aussie batsman Doug Walters.

Ray Illingworth (centre) pictured with John Snow (right) after captaining England to an Ashes series victory in the seventh Test match against Australia in Sydney in 1971

Ray Illingworth (centre) pictured with John Snow (right) after captaining England to an Ashes series victory in the seventh Test match against Australia in Sydney in 1971

You could just get on with your end of it and let him resolve all the other situations.

You respected his captaincy and running of everything. I had a disagreement with him at a game in Adelaide — I was having a breather because it wasn’t an important game but afterwards, he gave me a rollicking. 

Peter Lever was bowling away at the other end and it was having an effect on him. Ray said: ‘Pull your finger out,’ which was quite right, so I said: ‘OK captain,’ and that was it.

Illingworth (batting at the crease) scored 1,836 Test runs at an average of 23.24 for England

Illingworth (batting at the crease) scored 1,836 Test runs at an average of 23.24 for England

The Ashes success in 1970-71 was the peak of his career and a justification of the way he played. Ray was at the helm of it. 

He made sure it was all functioning, that no one was out on late nights and that sort of thing.

He was a true Yorkshireman — they don’t give much away! He was shrewd and would contemplate things before doing them.

He was always down to earth and was very old school, a cricket philosopher.

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