Australian cricketing legend Rod Marsh has died aged 74.
Tributes poured in for the former England wicket-keeper and manager just a week after suffering a heart attack.
Marsh was in critical condition in Bundaberg, Queensland, and died in South Australia’s capital Adelaide on Friday morning local time.
Marsh made 96 Test appearances for Australia and ended his career with a record 355 dismissals.
He made a further 92 white-ball cricket appearances for his country during an international career that spanned from 1970 to 1984.
His passing was confirmed by Marsh’s son, Paul, who said in a statement: “On behalf of my mother Ros and my brothers Dan and Jamie, it is with immense sadness that I announce that my father Rod passed away peacefully early this morning.
“He was an incredible husband, father and grandfather and we were so lucky to have had him throughout our lives.”
Australian cricket captain Pat Cummins led a chorus of tributes to Marsh, calling him “a colossal figure in Australian cricket”.
He said in a statement released by Cricket Australia (CA): “I, along with countless other people in Australia, have grown up hearing the stories of him as a fearless and tough cricketer, but his striking at the stick and his genius behind the stumps over more than a decade has made him one of our sport’s all-time greats, not just in Australia, but around the world.
“When I think of Rod, I think of a generous, larger-than-life character who always had a positive, positive and relaxed outlook, and his passing leaves a huge void in the Australian cricketing community.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called Marsh “a fierce competitor and a good sportsman”.
He wrote on Twitter: “Very sad to hear of the passing of Rod Marsh. As a child he was my favorite player.
“He was part of one of the most exciting eras in Australian and world cricket.
“He will be remembered as one of Australia’s greatest Test cricketers.
“He was a fierce competitor and an excellent sportsman who enjoyed what the game represented.
“Rod Marsh was a proud West Australian and an absolute Aussie legend.
“My deepest condolences go out to his wife Ros and his children Paul, Dan and Jamie.”
‘VERY SAD DAY’
AC Chairman Dr Lachlan Henderson said: “This is an extremely sad day for Australian cricket and for all who loved and admired Rod Marsh.
“Rod will forever be remembered for the way he played the game and the delight he brought to crowds as a member of some of Australia’s great teams. ‘Caught Marsh, Bowled Lillee’ has iconic status in our Game.
“Rod has also made a huge contribution to the game by identifying, coaching and mentoring many future stars in his various coaching and managerial roles at cricket academies in Australia and other cricketing nations.
“Our hearts go out to Rod’s wife Ros, his sons Paul, Dan and Jamie and the extended Marsh family, his many friends and teammates with whom he created so many special memories.”
Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), owner of Lord’s, said in a statement on Twitter: “MCC is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Rod Marsh, Honorary Life Member and former member of the World Cricket Committee.
“Our thoughts are with his friends and family.”
Marsh’s last Test came against Pakistan in Sydney in January 1984, the same match in which Greg Chappell and Dennis Lillee also bowed out – with the then-familiar refrain of ‘Marsh caught, shoved Lillee’ appearing on the board board for the 95th and last time. .
Born in the suburbs of Perth in November 1947, Marsh was the younger brother of Graham Marsh, who became a professional golfer and won 10 European Tour titles.
They had both represented Western Australia in schoolboys cricket but Rodney rose through the ranks to make his first class debut for WA against the West Indies on tour in 1968.
His international career had started inauspiciously – he received the nickname “Iron Gloves” after missing a string of catches in the 1970-71 Ashes series.
But Marsh had been selected on the basis of his batting, and he became the first wicketkeeper to make it a century for Australia with 118 against Pakistan in Adelaide in 1972, while his glove work also improved rapidly .
In all, he scored 3,633 runs with three centuries and 16 fifties while taking 343 catches and 12 stumps in 96 tests.
After a stint in commentary, Marsh became head coach of the Australian Cricket Academy in the 1990s, helping to develop Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee.
But he was lured to England in 2001, first as head of the national academy and then also as England manager from 2003 to 2005 – helping secure the Ashes’ famous 2005 victory over those greats talents he nurtured for his homeland.
This story originally appeared on The sun and has been reproduced here with permission.