Trevor Bailey, one of the greatest England all-rounders of the post-war era, has been found dead in a fire at a nursing home in Essex. He was 87.

Bailey, who also was well known as a TV commentator, was discovered in his smoke-filled apartment in Westcliff-on-Sea (the town where he was born). A woman thought to be his wife, Greta, was rescued from the inferno by Essex firefighters.

In his extraordinary career, Bailey won 61 Test caps between 1949 and 1959. He played county cricket for Essex for more than two decades and scored 1,000 runs and took 100 wickets in a year several times.
Bailey made his Test debut against New Zealand at Headingley in 1949.

He is perhaps best remembered for his partnership with Willie Watson at Lord's in June 1953, in which he batted for four-and-a-half hours to gain a draw which eventually allowed England to reclaim the Ashes after a 19-year absence.

He scored 2,290 runs and took 132 wickets for England during his Test career and was part of the side which won three successive Ashes series against Australia in 1953, 1954-55 and 1956.

Tributes to the fallen cricketer are pouring in.

One of my abiding memories as a small boy is of Trevor Bailey and Willie Watson batting at Lord's to save the Test match against the Australians,” said Sir John Major, former British Prime Minister. It was a superb effort, without which we would not have won back the Ashes in 1953.

“Trevor Bailey was not only one of the finest all-round cricketers this country has ever produced, he was also someone who made an enormous contribution to the game as an administrator and as a writer and broadcaster, said Giles Clarke, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Henry Blofeld, fellow Test Match Special commentator Henry said of Bailey: He was a tremendous colleague, a great friend and man I shall miss hugely. To work with he was exactly like he was as a cricketer. He was canny and let nothing pass.

Essex County Cricket Club president Doug Insole, who has known Bailey for more than 60 years, commented. We played football and cricket for Cambridge University and were colleagues in the Essex side for about 15 years. In the England team in the 1950s Trevor was a tower of strength - a great all rounder with a cast iron temperament. He was one of a kind and a very sad loss to his many friends.