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Bird, Vaughan pay their respects to the late Close

By Robert Jones

Dickie Bird has described ex-Yorkshire and England captain Brian Close as an "all-time great" after he died aged 84.

Close first represented his country as an 18-year-old against New Zealand in 1949 and went on to skipper England seven times in his 22-Test career.

In his 37 years in the game, Close scored nearly 35,000 runs and guided Yorkshire to four domestic titles before overseeing an upturn in Somerset's fortunes and helping to mould the careers of Sir Viv Richards and Sir Ian Botham at Taunton.

White Rose President Bird, who represented the county during Close's time there, believes his leadership qualities were what made him stand out.

"Brian Close was an all-time great, both of Yorkshire and England," Bird said. "His record speaks for itself. He is Yorkshire's most successful post-war captain and will always be regarded as one of the best skippers."

Michael Vaughan, who also played for Yorkshire and led England, also paid tribute.

On Twitter, Vaughan said: "Such a sad day. He was a true inspiration to all. Thanks for helping me as a kid growing up at Yorkshire... #RIPClosey."

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