Bob Willis Can Paint Ceilings

There have been many fast bowlers down the years – Holding, Lillee, Hall – with actions graceful enough to set to music, but it’s probably fair to say that Max Walker wouldn’t be among them. Walker had a method which fulfilled the basics of feet, chest and arms all being involved in the business of delivering the ball, but not necessarily at the same time.

The Australian’s death from cancer last month was a reminder that cricket is littered with examples of players who have thrived at the highest level despite being regarded as less than orthodox. Walker was an important foil to a bowler like Lillee, and while they were the aesthetic equivalent of Michelangelo and the bloke at the emulsion counter in B&Q, when it came to getting the ceiling painted, they both – in their different ways – got the job done.


Same with Mike Procter, or Bob Willis. Procter let go of the ball off his right foot, or appeared to, which is fine if you’re a left armer, which he wasn’t, while Willis had a run-up which started in another postcode, and was about as graceful as a World War One Sopwith Camel trying to take off from a potato field.


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