325 wickets at a better average than Botham – Bob Willis' career in Opta numbers

By Chris Myson 5 December 2019 5
325 wickets at a better average than Botham – Bob Willis' career in Opta numbers

England players past and present have paid tribute to former fast bowler Bob Willis after he died at the age of 70 on Wednesday.

The former Surrey and Warwickshire star was a former England captain and one of the key men, alongside Ian Botham, in their famous 1981 Ashes series victory over Australia.

At the time of Willis' international retirement in 1984, only Australia paceman Dennis Lillee had taken more Test wickets than his superb total of 325.

Here, we use Opta data to analyse the remarkable career of Willis, who went on to become a high-profile broadcaster.
 

25.20 – Willis had a Test average of 25.20 from his 90 matches and took 80 wickets an average of 24.60 in 64 one-day games for England.

1984 - He overtook Fred Trueman as England's leading Test wicket taker in 1984, the final year of his playing career.

3 - Only three England bowlers have since surpassed him: James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Botham. All of those players played in more matches and had a higher average. Anderson is closest with 26.94, followed by Botham (28.40) and Broad (28.77).

128 - Only Botham (148) has more Test wickets for England against Australia than Willis (128).

18 - Willis captained England on 18 occasions in Test cricket (W7, D6, L5) and 29 occasions in ODIs (W16, L13).

53.4 – He had strike-rate of one wicket per 53.4 deliveries in Tests. He bowled 17,357 balls in Test cricket and a further 3,595 in ODIs.

3.28 - Willis has the best economy rate (3.28) of any of the 29 bowlers to take 50 or more ODI wickets for England and the second-best average (24.60) of such players.

11 - Willis dismissed Kim Hughes (Australia) 11 times in Test cricket, his most common victim; New Zealand's Glenn Turner was his most regular scalp in ODI cricket (8 times).

16 – Willis had 16 five-wicket hauls in his Test career, but did not have any in limited-overs games for England.

1 – He was less distinguished as a batsman, ending his England career with a high score of 28 not out and hitting just one six in 128 innings at a batting average of 11.50.

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