Cricket world reeling from loss of two Australian greats – Newspaper


BRISBANE/SYDNEY: The cricketing world lost two all-time greats on Friday; one who cut a distinctive mustachioed figure behind the stumps for Australia, while the other was arguably the tallest leggie to ever step onto a cricket pitch.

Rodney Marsh, 74, who played 96 Tests and later remained national manager, was in an induced coma and died peacefully in an Adelaide hospital on Friday morning, his family confirmed. He had suffered a heart attack at a fundraising event in Queensland last week.

But just hours after offering his condolences over the death of Australian wicketkeeper on Twitter, Shane Keith Warne – a larger-than-life figure whose 708 Test wicket tally was only surpassed by Muttiah Muralitharan – has was found unresponsive in his villa on the Thai island of Ko Samui.

Caught Marsh, played Lillee

Marsh made his Test debut against England in November 1970 and scored 3,633 Tests in a career that spanned over 13 years. He partnered fellow West Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee to take 95 wickets during the pair’s Test career together.

“He was one of my childhood heroes who led me to try being a wicket-keeper in primary school,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison recalled, adding: “Everyone wanted to be Rod Marsh.”

Nicknamed “Iron Gloves”, Marsh played in the first One-day International, held on January 5, 1971 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. He played a total of 92 ODIs and as a dashing southpaw was the first Australian wicketkeeper to score a Test century against Pakistan in 1982.

He was also involved in Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket, which polarized international cricket in the late 1970s before revolutionizing the sport for professional players and fans alike.

Following his playing career, he remained closely linked to the game as head of the Australian Cricket Academy, helping to train dozens of players, including Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Justin Langer, before becoming chairman of the selectors.

“He was a legend of our great game and an inspiration to so many young boys and girls. Rod cared deeply about cricket and gave so much – especially to Australian and England players,” were Warne’s words of condolence on the passing of the great Australian.

But after that tweet late Friday afternoon, Warne was found unconscious by three friends staying at the same villa, who tried unsuccessfully to revive him, a local official said.

Warne was taken by ambulance to hospital, where medical staff were unable to resuscitate him. The official said there were no signs of foul play.

ball of the century

With a single twist of his right wrist at the start of a summer’s day at Old Trafford in 1993, Warne not only bamboozled England batsman Mike Gatting with the so-called “Ball of the Century”, but also kicked off the noble art of leg rotation.

Warne with bleached blond hair arrived on this England tour relatively unknown outside Australia and with rather unspectacular figures from his first 11 Tests.

The beautifully flown delivery initially appeared to be heading straight but began to drift through the air towards the right-hander Gatting – known for his expertise against spin bowling. The ball kicked a foot outside the line of Gatting’s leg stump and with the batsman pushing his left pad forward with his bat angled down, it clung to the dust. He then spat and bounced at a 45 degree angle, ripping the edge of Gatting’s bat and hitting the top of the stump.

Legendary umpire Dickie Bird, who was on the bowler’s end as Warne sent the legendary ball, called it “one of the best deliveries I’ve ever umpired.”

Named as one of Wisden’s five cricketers of the century, alongside Donald Bradman, Garfield Sobers, Jack Hobbs and Viv Richards, Warne’s impact has been enormous.

He also became well known for a colorful life away from cricket and he and teammate Mark Waugh were fined for accepting money from a bookie. Then Warne was suspended for 12 months after failing a drug test on the eve of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. He became the first bowler to take 700 Test wickets

Australian Test captain Pat Cummins, who is currently leading his side on a tour of Pakistan, said legendary spinner Shane Warne was “a hero” to the current generation of cricketers.

“The loss that we are all trying to understand is enormous. The game was never the same after Warnie emerged, and the game will never be the same after his passing,” he said in a video message.

“We have lost one of the greatest sportsmen of all time!” said West Indies batting legend Brian Lara.

Posted in Dawn, March 5, 2022

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