After his first-class debut in 1955 followed by a Test debut in 1958, it wasn’t until 1967 when Illingworth played against India and performed a good series that won him a secure place in the team. Having joined Leicestershire in 1968, he played 787 first-class matches over 33 years.
Illingworth followed the middle-order batting and scored 24,134 runs in all at an average of 28.06 and the best score of 162. In 1970 against the Rest of the World, he even topped the English averages owing to his 6 half-centuries and 476 runs at 52.89.
In Test cricket, Illingworth scored 1836 runs at an average of 23.24 including two hundreds and five fifties. As for bowling in Test cricket, Illingworth took 122 wickets in 61 Test matches at an average of 31.20 and an economy rate of 1.91 including three 5 wicket- hauls and five 4 wicket hauls. He didn’t play much of the one-day international cricket but excelled tremendously in the first-class matches.
Illingworth captained the English cricket team over five seasons from 1969 to 1973 which was surely a successful time for the team itself. Under his captaincy, West Indies lost in 1969 with 2-0, had a dominating side in 1970 to 3-1, Pakistan lost in 1971, and won the Ashes in 1970-71.
In 1969 at Headingly, Illingworth gave West Indies a remarkable defeat with his bowling, and similarly, in the 7th Test of the 1970-71 season, this strong cricketer profoundly influenced the Australian team to lose.
Raymond Illingworth was an outstanding captain, an even beneficial batsman at an International Level, and was a fine off-spin bowler. His honorary membership of the MCC and selection as the 4th cricketer for Yorkshire’s Hall of Fame is evidence of his victorious playing career.