CRICKETING legend Trevor Bailey has died in a flat fire this morning.

AN elderly woman, believed to be his wife, was rescued from the blaze in Crowstone Road, Westcliff but nothing could be done to save her husband, a former England captain who played for Essex County Crickety Club for more than twenty years.

Firefighters were called to the fire at about 6.15am.

Three crews tackled the blaze at the retirement complex and searched the heavily smoke-logged building.

Divisional Officer Bob Wahl, incident commander, said crews did a “fantastic” job in finding the elderly lady who was asleep with her bedroom door shut, something which probably saved her from the smoke.

Tragically, her husband was found in the kitchen and could not be saved.

A fire investigation officer will be sent to the scene to establish the cause of the incident.

Former prime minister Sir John Major said: "Trevor Bailey is one of the great all-rounders in the history of English cricket.

"One of my abiding memories as a small boy is of Trevor Bailey and Willie Watson batting at Lord's to save the Test match against the Australians. It was a superb effort, without which we would not have won back the Ashes in 1953.

"Trevor was a great servant of English cricket - a fine bowler and a team player, prepared to bat anywhere from number one to seven, and with great skill and success.

"He has certainly earned his place in the history of English cricket."