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Mike Denness dies

Mike Denness dies

Former England captain and MCC Honorary Life Member Mike Denness OBE has died aged 72 after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Denness played 28 times for England in a six-year Test career, with 19 of them coming as captain in a tricky period following Ray Illingworth's dismissal.

A stylish batsman, he made four centuries at the highest level and 33 in all first-class cricket.

MCC Head of Cricket John Stephenson, himself a former Essex cricketer who knew Denness well, spoke of his sadness at the news.

He said: "Mike Denness was a great friend of MCC and a fine cricketer.

"He was an excellent servant of the game off the field and he will be sadly missed in the cricket community."

Denness, who was born in Lanarkshire, is one of only a handful of Scotsmen to have represented England and the only one to have led the side. He also played for Scotland during his career.

His time at the helm was complicated by Geoffrey Boycott's self-imposed exile from the team.

He also came up against Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson in Australia in 1974/75 and was dismissed as skipper the following summer when the Aussies won at Edgbaston.

Denness took the decision with good grace, though that was to be his final appearance for England.

He later served as an ICC Match Referee from 1996 to 2002, but his tenure ended in controversy after he sanctioned six India players at Port Elizabeth. He refereed just two more Tests before retiring.

Denness was elected as an MCC Member in 1964 and played regularly for the Club for a number of years, his last appearance coming in 1991.

He was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1975 and was elected a Honorary Life Member of MCC in 1982.

Later in life he served as Kent President and was awarded an OBE in the New Years Honours List earlier this year.

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