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Flintoff leads tributes to Dilley Published: 10 November 2011

Andrew Flintoff hailed the late Graham Dilley as “an inspiration” as he led the tributes at a memorial service for the former pace bowler in Worcester Cathedral.

Hundreds of mourners, including some of cricket’s biggest names, packed the building, which overlooks Worcestershire’s New Road ground - where Dilley played for the final six years of his career.

In his speech, Flintoff said he was indebted to Dilley for his help during his time as part of the England coaching set-up.

After finishing his playing career, Dilley spent time as England's Bowling Coach under Duncan Fletcher, where he first worked with Flintoff.

He later went on to coach Loughborough MCC University for over ten years, producing a number of first-class and international cricketers, including Monty Panesar.

'Inspiration'

Flintoff said: “In 2002-2003 my career turned around and I started bowling properly and that was down to working with Dilley in India and New Zealand.

“Then, through a tricky time in Australia, he was always someone I could talk to as well.

“But I also chatted with him when I saw him at Loughborough MCC University, where he was coaching, and we talked things through.

“He helped me as a cricketer but he was also a good bloke. He was an inspiration and helped me out no end.”

Dilley appeared in 41 Tests and 36 ODIs for England, picking up 186 wickets along the way.

Although it was with the bat and his match-changing century partnership with Ian Botham during the 1981 Ashes Test at Headingly that he is often remembered for.

But Mike Gatting, Dilley's captain in 17 Tests, was quick to point out that Dilley’s contribution to English cricket went beyond the 1981 Ashes.

“Everyone will remember Dilley for 1981, but there are many more memories than that, said the former batsman.

“There was his magnificent spell of bowling against the West Indies at Lord’s and his contribution to the 1986-87 Ashes series win Down Under.

Forthright

Botham, who played alongside Dilley for England and Worcestershire, also made it clear that there was much more to Graham Dilley than his innings in 1981.

He said:“I’ve got so many great memories; trying to talk him through his first tour when I was England captain, when he turned up with just one pair of boots!

“The heel came off with the second delivery he bowled and he wore my boots for the rest of that tour.

“We had six or seven marvelous years together here. The more you got to know him, the more forthright he was.”

During the service, addresses were also made by the ECB’s Head of Elite Coaching Development, Gordon Lord ,and also former England batsman Chris Tavare, who played alongside Dilley at his first county, Kent.

Other speakers included England selectors Geoff Miller and Ashley Giles, England’s managing director of cricket Hugh Morris, Lancashire Director of Cricket Peter Moores and his Middlesex counterpart Angus Fraser.


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