RIP Bob Willis

Discussion in 'general sports' started by MrSki, Dec 4, 2019 at 4:11 PM.

  1. MrSki

    MrSki Who am I to say you're wrong

  2. Fedayn

    Fedayn Well-Known Member

    Rather sad, that big bouncing mop of hair as she ran up to the crease.

    RIP Dylan
    littlebabyjesus likes this.
  3. marty21

    marty21 One on one? You're crazy.

    Sad news , I remember him terrifying the Aussie batsmen in that test in 1981. RIP.
  4. planetgeli

    planetgeli There's no future in England's dreaming

    Like his 8-43, I don't think that was entirely expected was it?

    RIP big man.
  5. Spymaster

    Spymaster Cockney Wanker

    A great loss.

    Sprocket. likes this.
  6. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons


    Headingley 81 is often called Botham's test, but for me it will always be Bob's. I sat and watched him tear through Australia on the last day live on TV. I can date my love of cricket from that day.

    Two gone from that test now. Dilley too. :(
  7. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    The mop of hair. The name changed to Dylan (whoever that was, I wasn't totally sure, but it was cool). And he was a bit ungainly, not very athletic, a hopeless batsman and a poor fielder. Somehow he willed himself to bowl fast off that long, straight run, his one gift but even that clearly didn't come easily. 'Come on Bob', and we really really meant it.
    marty21 likes this.
  8. Casual Observer

    Casual Observer binoculars

    Very sad. Didn't know he was ill. We all did a Bob Willis impersonation in our youth. Quite liked his dry sense of humour too.
    Spymaster and littlebabyjesus like this.
  9. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

  10. Athos

    Athos Well-Known Member

    And declined to take these Rand for rebel SA tours.
  11. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    He went on private boycott breaking tours and only turned down coaching jobs in apartheid era SA because he thought it might render him unfit to play for england.
  12. Sprocket.

    Sprocket. Because I chose to play the fool.....

    Thanks Bob, for everything.
    RIP. :(
  13. Athos

    Athos Well-Known Member

    :( Oh, I'd always thought he was one of the good guys. Shame.
  14. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    Sadly this is true.
  15. Mumbles274

    Mumbles274 running from law and the press and the parents

    Legend of cricket. Never been someone I found particularly enjoyable to watch/hear speak about cricket as a commentator, found him to be quite critical maybe, but always accurate and insightful. I hear that he always made time for any current england player and is nothing other than charming, supportive and helpful. Too young and a loss to the game and broadcasting. Cheers Bob
    Spymaster likes this.
  16. souljacker

    souljacker innit

    When I heard he'd died, I was sure he'd done something dodgy, just couldn't remember what. But, like littlebabyjesus he was a big part in my early love of cricket so there is some sadness. Just not sure he is really worth much greeting considering his actions in the 80s.
  17. Pink Panther

    Pink Panther Well-Known Member

    He added it to his existing names by deed poll as a teenager in honour of Bob Dylan.

    That was almost 50 years ago, there were no sanctions against playing in South Africa at the time, and county cricketers generally had to find alternative employment or sign on the dole in the winter if they didn't get picked for the England tour. (When he was called up for the 1970/71 Ashes tour as an injury replacement a couple of years earlier I believe he was working at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.) I'm not old enough to remember clearly, but I suspect anyone other than a committed political activist wouldn't have regarded it as any different to playing grade cricket in Australia.
  18. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    The boycotts had begun by then, so while there were no official sanctions against individuals like Willis going to play SA domestic cricket, SA was already out of international cricket. You're right that cricketers needed to find winter employment, but I think you understate the potential for understanding what they were doing going to play whites-only cricket in South Africa, which is what he did. You didn't need to be a political activist to see what that was. At best, it is a big disappointment that he did it. At best, sadly, it makes his homage to Dylan a rather empty gesture.

    And it's not like he needed to go outside cricket to find strong voices of condemnation. John Arlott, for instance, was massively critical of it at the time.
  19. skyscraper101

    skyscraper101 0891 50 50 50

    70 isn’t a great innings.
    ignatious and Orang Utan like this.
  20. Orang Utan

    Orang Utan knows how to use the three shells

    He was great in Hudson Hawk
    ignatious likes this.
  21. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    1973 was five years after the D'Oliveira
    affair which i reckon he'd have been fully aware of even without being some sort of hardcore political activist.
  22. ignatious

    ignatious Well-Known Member

    Weren’t the Robins’ tours seen as what we’d now call England Lions, sort of a next gen thing? Doesn’t excuse the tours but provides some context in which a young player might find it hard to say no.

    Not that he later expressed any huge regret as far as I’m aware, so certainly a stain on his reputation.
  23. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    I don't want to single Willis out too much here because he was very far from the only one, and there are many more culpable than him - older people like Benaud, who organised trips, and of course those who went on the rebel tours of the 80s. It is certainly true that Willis could have gone in 82, near the end of his career, and cashed in with a big payment, but didn't. By memory, Gooch got 200k for that tour. Willis would have got a similar amount. But he did play provincial cricket in South Africa. 'I'm not political' really didn't cut it, then or now. By going to play whites-only cricket for money, you are doing a political thing.

    Cricket was in a sorry state even in the 80s, it has to be said. Far too many people who chose not to stand up to be counted. Those who did stand up to be counted, like Gower, who refused to go to SA on principle and said so, actually suffered negative consequences for it - like the doctor in An Unbearable Lightness of Being, resented for having done the right thing by those who did not do the right thing.
    ignatious likes this.
  24. redsquirrel

    redsquirrel This Machine Kills Progressives

    This is pathetic apologism. The horrors of SA were well established by then. If Tom Cartwright could recognise the racism of apartheid so could others - they choose not to in order to make money.
    ignatious likes this.
  25. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    The Gower story isn't true, be says so himself. That this is a position that others actually built for him.
  26. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Not to mention the various troubles over springboks tours.
  27. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Just for the record, I didn't want to turn this into this sort of thing, I intended to let sleeping dogs lie if nothing was said but it was and then needed replying to.Willis was fine fine wholehearted cricketer who I found it very difficult to like.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019 at 9:02 AM

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