Australian cricketing great Rod Marsh dies aged 74


Marsh, in many ways, changed the way wicketkeepers operate. Originally selected as a batsman, he was the prototype batter-keeper allrounder that has since become ubiquitous in the modern game.
The selectors’ gamble paid off as Marsh scored an unbeaten 92 in just his fourth Test, and later became the first Australian wicketkeeper to score a Test century. In total, he scored three Test hundreds and 16 fifties.

His wicketkeeping, on the other hand, was at first derided by critics and he was given the nickname ‘Iron Gloves’ after fumbling a number of catches behind the stumps in his first matches.

Despite this inauspicious start, Marsh quickly became an adept wicketkeeper, and during his 14-season career, he collected a then world record 355 Test dismissals in 96 Test appearances; his partnership with fast-bowler Dennis Lillee yielded 95 dismissals alone, more than any other wicketkeeper-bowler combination in the history of the game.

Marsh represented Australia in the one-day format too, scoring four fifties and taking 124 dismissals.

Such continued success won him multiple awards. In 1982, he was named as one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year, and in 2005, he was inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame by Cricket Australia.

After his retirement, Marsh remained deeply involved within the game, as a coach at the Australian Cricket Academy, a commentator for Channel Nine, and as Australia men’s chairman of selectors from 2014-2016.

Today, in their first Test against Pakistan, the current Australian cricket team will wear black armbands in memory of Marsh.

Australia's players observe a minute silence to pay tribute to Marsh before the start of the first day play of the first Test match between Pakistan and Australia on March 4.
Australia captain Pat Cummins told Australia, “Rod was a colossal figure in Australian cricket who gave close to 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 put you at your ease.

“I, along with countless other people in Australia, grew up hearing the stories of him as a fearless and tough cricketer, but his swashbuckling batting and his brilliance behind the stumps over more than a decade made him one of the all-time greats of our sport, not just in Australia, but globally.”

Marsh is survived by his wife, Ros, and their three children.

“He has been an incredible husband, father and grandfather,” they said in a statement, “and we have been so fortunate to have had him in all our lives.”

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