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Ashes hero Graham Dilley dies

Graham Dilley, the former England fast bowler and Loughborough MCC University Coach has died aged 52, after a long illness.

A member of England’s Ashes winning sides in 1981 and 1987, Dilley played 41 Tests and 36 One Day Internationals for his country.

He took 138 Test wickets for his country in an 11-year career, but his most famous performance was alongside Ian Botham at Headingley in 1981, when his 56 helped England set-up arguably their most famous victory.

The ex-Kent and Worcestershire fast bowler then moved into coaching, taking over at Loughborough in 2001 after spells with England.

Much missed

MCC Head of Cricket John Stephenson, a contemporary of Dilley's, spoke of his sadness at the news.

He said "Graham was a world-class bowler who I played against many times and he became a very good friend.

"As a coach, he made a huge impact as part of the MCC Universities programme; he was central to the progress made at Loughborough over the last decade and he will be much missed by all of us at the Club."

Dilley made his first-class debut as an 18-year-old for Kent and at the age of 20 was plucked from the county game to become the youngest England debutant in 30 years, when he played against Australia in Perth.

He was in and out of the side for the next two years, playing the first three Tests of the 1981 Ashes - taking 14 wickets - before being left out of the side.

Widely regarded as the fastest English bowler of his generation, Dilley peaked between 1986 and 1988, spearheading England's attack and playing a part in the Ashes victory in 1987 - though injury ruled him out after the second Test.

Dilley returned in 1988, taking nine wickets against the West Indies at Lord's, and played his last match against Australia the following summer.

Perversely, considering his excellent Test record, England only won in two of his Test appearances.

Coaching honours

After a 15-year first-class career, Dilley retired from playing in 1992, moving into coaching.

He worked as the Assistant Coach with the England Men and Bowling Coach to the England Women, but leaves a particularly impressive legacy at Loughborough MCCU.

He began coaching Loughborough’s cricketers at the inception of the university academy scheme in 2000, helping turn them into the most successful MCCU.

Dilley also had a hand in developing young talent such as England left-arm spinner Monty Panesar and Women's World Cup winner Nicky Shaw.

Chris Earle, Director of Sport at Loughborough University, said he was devastated at the news of Dilley's death.

He said: "Graham made his mark on the world of cricket, not just through his success as a player, but also for his contribution as our cricket coach over the last 11 years.

“He will be sadly missed, but his legacy at Loughborough will remain thanks to the excellent cricket environment that he played a significant role in creating.”

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