Ray Illingworth: Former England captain is receiving cancer treatment

Former England captain and coach Ray Illingworth
Ray Illingworth captained England during their 2-0 Ashes win in Australia in 1970-71

Former England captain and coach Ray Illingworth is receiving treatment for oesophageal cancer.

The 89-year-old said he is undergoing radiotherapy, having already had two doses to shrink a tumour.

He led England in 31 of his 61 Tests between 1958 and 1973, later becoming chairman of selectors and coach.

“They got rid of a lot of the tumour but there were still two centimetres left, originally it was eight,” he told the Daily Telegraph.external-link

“They are just hoping to get rid of the last bit with extra double doses.

“I will see how these next two doses go, keep my fingers crossed and hope I have a bit of luck.”

All-rounder Illingworth played 787 first-class matches for Yorkshire and Leicestershire, initially retiring in 1978 before returning for two more seasons at Yorkshire until his retirement in 1983, aged 51.

In first-class matches, he took 2,072 wickets with his off-spin at an average of 20.27, while also scoring 24,134 runs, including 22 centuries, at 28.06.

He hit 1,836 runs at 23.24 in Tests, making two centuries, and took 122 wickets at 31.2.

The highlight of his captaincy was a 2-0 win in Australia during the seven-Test 1970-71 Ashes.

After retiring he became a regular voice on the BBC’s TV cricket coverage, before succeeding fellow ex-England captain Ted Dexter as chairman of selectors in 1994.

He also took over as England coach in 1995 after Keith Fletcher was sacked, but lost that role after the 1996 World Cup and handed over to David Graveney as chairman of selectors a year later.

He had a heart attack in 2011 during his second year as Yorkshire’s president and is currently the oldest living player to have played in an one-day international, having started the first ODI against Australia in 1971.

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