Former England bowler, Graham Dilley, a prominent part of the Ashes Test championship in 1981, has died of cancer at the age of 52.

Twice divorced and leaving four children behind, Dilley expired in a hospice in Leicester Wednesday morning. One of his children is Chris Pennell, captain of Premiership rugby club Worcester.

Between 1979 and 1989, Dilley participated in 40 international Tests and 36 one-day internationals as a fast bowler.

However, he will likely best be remembered for his heroics as a batsman in the 1981 Ashes – he had a 56, his highest Test score.

Dilley started his cricket career in 1977 at the tender age of 18 in his native Kent. He was only 20 when he appeared in his England debut in an international against the West Indies at Sydney, Australia in November 1979.

By 1987, he joined Worcestershire and helped the club win the County Championship in 1988 and 1989. By 1992, beset by injuries, he retired.

After his playing career was over, Dilley served as a coach in Surrey, as bowling coach for the England women's team and as an assistant coach for the England senior team in India.

He was working a director of cricket of Loughborough University which he became ill.

Graham made a life-long contribution to the game of cricket at all levels and we are deeply saddened by the news this morning, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive David Collier said in a statement.

“Graham inspired many young cricketers through the University program and was a highly respected coach to our representative teams. Few will forget his contribution during the historic Ashes win at Headingley in 1981 and the part he played in two Ashes series victories. Graham will be sadly missed by all his friends throughout cricket and ECB sends our deepest condolences to Graham’s family.”

Former England captain Mike Gatting told BBC Radio: [Dilley] was up at Loughborough, helping the kids become better cricketers. He's been doing it all his life, passing on his knowledge and views on cricket and doing a very good job. He would sit down and talk to people about cricket. He was happy to do that.

Gatting added: We played a lot of cricket together. He was a very good friend. It's a shock because it has happened so suddenly. [The Headingley Test] was one of the many things Graham did throughout his career. He was a tremendous cricketer.

Cricket legend Ian Botham was also saddened by Dilley’s passing

I had a lot of great times with him,” he told Sky Sports.
He had a good sense of humor and always wanted to be a part of the party. He was quiet and reserved until you got to know him. It's a very sad day. We both joined Worcestershire at the same time together, almost within minutes. We had a great run of about six trophies in five years. He was plagued with injuries - his neck and knees - which probably stopped him playing a lot more for England, but on his day he was the best.