Tributes pour in for ex-England cricketer Graham Dilley

Tributes pour in for ex-England cricketer Graham Dilley London, Oct 6 : Tributes have been pouring in for former Kent and England cricket hero Graham Dilley who died after a short battle with cancer. He was 52.

Dilley was admitted to hospital earlier this week suffering from the illness. He had recently been working as head cricket coach at Loughborough University.

Born in Dartford, and a former student at Dartford West Boys’ School, he made his name with Kent after his debut in 1977, aged just 18.

He was selected for England just two years later - and in doing so, becoming the youngest cricketer to play for England in 30 years.

The blond-haired fast bowler would go on to play 41 Tests for his country - and played an integral role in the historic 1981 Ashes victory at Headingley where Ian Botham and Bob Willis steered the side to a remarkable come-back against Australia.

Along with Botham, he put on 117 in just 80 minutes to help guide England to success and perhaps their most famous win.

Botham was visibly upset yesterday at the loss of his friend and former Worcestershire team-mate.

He said: “I have so many fond memories of him. He was a fantastic cricketer, who was plagued by injuries. On his day, he was the best. He was a quiet, reserved man with a great sense of humour and lovely to be around.”

ECB managing director, Hugh Morris, said: “This is very sad news for Graham’s many friends and colleagues in cricket, both in this country and overseas.”

England star Kevin Pietersen said on Twitter: “What an amazing guy Graham Dilley was - always smiling and always helping spread his knowledge about our great game. A sad day.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan simply said: “Absolutely gutted. RIP Graham Dilley.”

Current England player Stuart Broad added: “Very sad to hear about Graham Dilley. Wonderful fast bowler and lovely man. 52 is too young.” (ANI)