Dennis Lillee, considered by many to have been ‘the complete bowler’, was the heart of Australia’s attack for more than a decade. Through a combination of ability, showmanship and sheer hard work he won the loyal following of the nation’s crowds, who often roared his name as he ran in to bowl. And Lillee repaid their faith with interest – he was the type of character whom captains could rely on to bowl ‘one more over’ at the end of a long spell, and often made breakthroughs when success seemed unlikely. Armed with a copybook action, Lillee broke Lance Gibbs’ world record of 309 Test wickets and finished with 355 dismissals from just 70 matches to underline his status as one of the all-time greats. Since retirement he has also retained a high profile through his commitment to developing new generations of fast bowlers.
Lillee, who was named in Australia’s Test Team of the Century, now has an international reputation as a fast bowling coach. Until recently he also continued to bowl for the ACB Chairman’s XI against touring sides, and remained a challenge to Test-class batsman. In 1999/2000, the 50-year-old bowed out of these matches in befitting fashion, with Dennis and his son Adam taking three wickets apiece against a Pakistan touring side.