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Mike Denness, the only Scotsman to captain England, has died at the age of 72

Cricket mourns Denness

Mike Denness: Skippered England in 19 of his 28 Tests

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Former England captain Mike Denness has died at the age of 72 following a long battle with cancer.

Denness created history when he became the first Scotsman - and only - to captain England, leading the side on 19 occasions in his 28 Test appearances.

He made his Test debut in 1969 against New Zealand, and went on to score 1,667 runs at an average just below 40 with four centuries.

He replaced Ray Illingworth as captain for the drawn 1974 tour of the West Indies and made back-to-back centuries later that summer as England crushed India 3-0.

On the 1974/75 tour of Australia, Denness mustered only 65 runs in six innings before dropping himself for the fourth Test, but he returned for the next clash in Melbourne and made his highest Test score of 188.

Denness was a magnificent servant for Kent, where he made 333 first-class appearances in 14 seasons at Canterbury and played a prominent role in the county's glory years in the '60s and 70s - leading the county to six domestic titles.

Denness was named one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1975 and had one more season at Kent before spending the final three years of his career with Essex, announcing his retirement in 1980.

He then took on coaching role at Chelmsford and Kent, where he was appointed chairman of their cricket committee, and he was made an honorary life member of the MCC.

Tributes

Denness was also a respected ICC match referee and enjoyed a spell as a pitch liaison officer for the ECB, and he was awarded the OBE in the most recent New Year's Honours list for services to cricket.

He was in the final week of his year as Kent president, and Kent chairman George Kennedy said: "This is an extremely sad day for the club. We have lost one of our great players, a very successful captain and a good friend.

"It is particularly sad that this has happened during his year as president. Our thoughts are with Mike's family and friends at this time."

Denness' close friend and Kent's president-elect Bob Bevan added: "Michael Henry Denness was the finest cricketer ever born in Scotland by a considerable distance.

"Both on and off the field he epitomised the cricketing term 'playing a straight bat'. He was a man of the utmost honesty and integrity.

"The cricketing counties of Kent and Essex, the whole world of cricket and my wife and I, personally, have lost one of our greatest friends."