Former England cricket captains Sir Ian Botham, Mike Gatting and Andrew Flintoff led the tributes to former Worcestershire and Kent paceman Graham Dilley at a thanksgiving service in Worcester Cathedral after his death last month.
Dozens of the sport’s big names past and present packed the building which overlooks the New Road ground where Dilley played for the final six years of his career.
He appeared in 41 Tests for England and is remembered for his match-changing century partnership with Botham during the 1981 Ashes Test at Headingley, as well as helping win the 1986-87 series under Gatting.
Gatting said: “Everyone will remember him for 1981 but there are many more memories than that.
“He was a fine, fine bowler but I suppose we will always remember Dill for not wanting the limelight, being happy to sit somewhere and have a beer with the boys.”
Botham, who played alongside Dilley for England and Worcestershire, 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.”
Flintoff is indebted to Dilley for his help when part of the England coaching team.
He said: “I’ve seen the re-runs of 1981 and he played as big a part in that as ‘Beefy’ (Botham) and Bob Willis.
“But regarding me, in 2002-03 my career turned around and I started bowling properly and that was down to working with Dilley in India and New Zealand. He was an inspiration and helped me out no end.”