Robin Hobbs, England and Essex legspinner, dies aged 81

Robin Hobbs, the former Essex and England legspinner, has died at the age of 81.

Hobbs, who made his England debut against India at Headingley in 1967, claimed 12 wickets in seven Tests over the course of the next four years, and was the last specialist legspinner to play for England until Ian Salisbury’s debut against Pakistan in 1992.

On the county scene, he became a key member of Essex’s squad after being signed by Trevor Bailey in 1961, and made a total of 325 appearances across 15 seasons, taking 763 wickets at an average of exactly 26.00.

He was capped by Essex in 1964, and after leaving the club in 1975, he finished his career at Glamorgan in a surprise return to first-class cricket as captain for the 1979 season. The final match of his career, in 1981, came against his former club at Colchester, in which he bowed out with a five-wicket haul.

Conversely, Hobbs’ best bowling figures of 8 for 63 had come for Essex against Glamorgan at Swansea in 1966, and he finished his career with a total of 1,099 wickets – with his 1000th helping to seal a memorable win over the reigning county champions, Worcestershire, in 1975.

Though hardly renowned for his batting, Hobbs scored just shy of 5000 first-class runs in his career, including two centuries – the last of which, also in 1975, came from 46 balls against the touring Australians, and secured him the coveted Walter Lawrence Trophy for the season’s fastest hundred.

The news of his death was announced by his son Nick, who wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “Today I said goodbye to my best mate. Rest in peace my mate.”

Speaking to BBC Essex Sport in 2020, Hobbs said: “I look back on it with great pleasure that I got over 1,000 wickets as a legspinner because it will never be done again now, with the reduction of county cricket matches. I was very, very lucky in my career”.

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