Former England seamer Ken Higgs has died at the age of 79. Higgs, who played county cricket for Lancashire and Leicestershire, took 71 wickets at an average of 20.74 in 15 Tests.
“Leicestershire County Cricket Club is extremely saddened to learn of the passing of the great fast-medium opening bowler, Kenneth (Ken) Higgs,” said a club statement.
Higgs made his name with Lancashire before joining Leicestershire and becoming a coach with the Midlands club.
Having made his debut in 1958 he ended up playing first-class cricket in four different decades when, following an injury crisis, he returned to take five for 22 for Leicestershire against Yorkshire in 1986 at the age of 49.
Despite taking 71 wiackets at an average of 20.74 apiece, Higgs played just 15 Tests for England from 1965-1968 finishing his international career on his then Old Trafford home ground against Australia.
His best series saw Higgs take 24 wickets against a strong West Indies batting side in 1966, where he dismissed Conrad Hunte and Rohan Kanhai four times apiece.
Higgs took more than 1,000 wickets for Lancashire before retiring from first-class cricket to become a professional at Lancashire League side Rishton in 1969.
However, then Leicestershire secretary Mike Turner enticed Higgs back into the county game.
“We are deeply saddened by the news that Ken has passed away,” said Leicestershire chairman Paul Haywood, a former Leicestershire batsman.
“I had the great pleasure of playing alongside Ken and he was a truly great bowler who had a wonderful career record.
“Ken was well-respected by everyone at Leicestershire County Cricket Club and we would like to offer our condolences and best wishes to his family.” England batsman David Lloyd, who played alongside Higgs at Lancashire, tweeted: “Strong and aggressive bowler … Great man, great teammate.” Higgs finished his career with an impressive tally of 1,536 first-class wickets at 23.61 apiece.
He also took a hat-trick in the 1974 Benson and Hedges Cup final at Lord’s although his return of four for 10 in seven overs could not prevent Leicestershire losing to Surrey by 27 runs.
Higgs became captain and went on to coach at Leicestershire. Flags at both Leicestershire’s Grace Road ground and Old Trafford, where England were due to play Pakistan in a Twenty20 international later Wednesday, were flying at half-mast as a mark of respect.