Australian cricketer Rodney Marsh dies aged 74

Australian cricketer Rodney Marsh dies aged 74

One of cricket’s greatest wicketkeepers, Marsh died a week after suffering a heart attack at a fundraising event in Queensland

One of cricket’s greatest wicketkeepers, Marsh died a week after suffering a heart attack at a fundraising event in Queensland

With a distinctive moustache, unbuttoned shirt and baggy green cap like a beacon behind the stumps, the sight of Rod Marsh and the sound of his name permeated Australian summers in the 1970s and early 80s.

The cricketer great, who formed a prolific and prolific partnership with Australian pace setter Dennis Lillee, died in an Adelaide hospital on Friday just over a week after suffering a heart attack at a fundraising event funds in the State of Queensland. He was 74 years old.

A stocky and stoic wicketkeeper, Marsh was half of a slogan synonymous with the era of Test cricket: caught Marsh, knocked down Lillee. They combined a record 95 times to dismiss opposition batters in Test cricket.

“This is an extremely sad day for Australian cricket and for all who loved and admired Rod Marsh,” said Cricket Australia chairman Lachlan Henderson. member of some top Australian teams – ‘caught Marsh, played Lillee’ has iconic status in our game.”

Marsh and Lillee made their Test debuts in the 1970-71 Ashes series against England and retired after a Test against Pakistan in 1984. Both finished with 355 dismissals, records at the time for a keeper wicket and for a fast bowler.

Marsh played in the first One Day International on 5 January 1971 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and retired from top-flight cricket after his 92nd ODI, against West Indies in February 1984. He also appeared in the World Series cricket, which polarized international cricket in the late 1970s before revolutionizing the sport for professional players and fans alike.

A left-handed batsman, he was the first Australian wicketkeeper to score a century in Test cricket – against Pakistan in Adelaide in 1972 – and finished his career with three. He went on to lead the national cricket academies in Australia and England and was the first director of the International Cricket Council’s World Coaching Academy in Dubai.

In 2014, he was appointed Australian Selectors’ Chairman and served in that role for two years.

In a tribute to one of its legendary figures, Cricket Australia said that as his career progressed, Marsh became renowned for his “athletic grips and sure hands – belying an early nickname of ‘Iron Gloves’ “- especially when keeping up with the ferocious pace of fellow 70s icons Lillee and Jeff Thomson.

With Dennis Lillee. Marsh was half a slogan that was synonymous with the era of Test cricket: caught Marsh, knocked down Lillee | Photo credit: Hindu Archives

Pat Cummins, captain of the Australian team who planned to wear black armbands in honor of Marsh later on Friday to start a three-Test series in Pakistan, described the 96-Test veteran as a “colossal figure in Australian cricket which has given nearly 50 years of incredible service.

“He was brilliant to deal with because he knew the game inside out, but also had a way of dealing with you to make you feel comfortable,” Cummins said. “I grew up hearing the stories of him as a fearless, tough cricketer, but his batting and genius behind the stumps for over a decade made him one of the all-time greats. of our sport, 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.”

International Cricket Council chief executive Geoff Allardice said Marsh, one of the first inductees into the International Sports Hall of Fame, was a “true legend” of the game.

“His skill and talent with the gloves was exceptional…but his legacy went far beyond what he achieved on the court,” Allardice said in a statement. “He played an important role in the development of young cricketers around the world, including serving as the first Director of Coaching at the ICC Cricket Academy in Dubai, a facility which future generations of players from all over will continue to benefit.”

Sport Australia Hall of Fame chairman John Bertrand said Marsh, inducted in 1985, was tactical, spoke fearlessly and was an important figure in cricketing folklore.

“He made history,” Bertrand said, and was “respected by everyone he played with and against.”

Marsh’s older brother, Graham, was a professional golfer. One of his three sons, Dan, led Tasmania State to its first title in the top-class domestic competition Sheffield Shield.