Cricket-Rod Marsh, Australia wicketkeeping great, dies at 74 – Metro US

Cricket-Rod Marsh, Australia wicketkeeping great, dies at 74

FILE PHOTO: Australia’s Rod Marsh, pictured during a nets session
FILE PHOTO: Australia’s Rod Marsh, pictured during a nets session at Old Trafford, England

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Rod Marsh, an iconic presence behind the stumps for Australia in test matches of the 1970s and early 1980s and inextricably linked with that of fast bowler Dennis Lillee, died on Friday at the age of 74, his family said.

Marsh remained a hugely popular figure in the cricket community and he was on his way to a charity function in Queensland eight days ago when he suffered a massive heart attack that ultimately proved fatal.

“Caught Marsh, bowled Lillee” appeared on test scorecards 95 times as the moustachioed Western Australian combination wreaked havoc on opposing batting orders in a golden era for cricket Down Under.

Teak-tough and a fierce competitor, Marsh’s burly physique belied a great athleticism and his sure hands helped him to a tally of 355 dismissals when he retired in 1984, then a test record.

While it still places him fourth on the all-time list of dismissals behind the stumps, and earned him a spot in the ICC Hall of Fame, Marsh was more than a one-dimensional gloveman.

He was the first wicketkeeper to score a century for Australia when he made 118 against Pakistan in 1972, and added two more hundreds amongst 3,633 test runs at an average of 26.51 over his 96 tests.

His career also encompassed the birth of one-day cricket. He scored 1,225 runs in 92 short format matches for his country despite playing for a couple of years in the rebel World Series Cricket.

Greg Chappell, Australia’s captain for the latter part of Marsh’s career, said his contribution to the team went further than catches, stumpings and runs.

“Rod was the spiritual leader of the group,” he told Nine Media. “He gave everything to the team. He loved a win more than any of us, hated a lose more than any of us…

“And if you needed to be told something, he was generally the bloke who told you. You were never left in any doubt what he meant, and often he was spot on.”

That was never more the case than when Chappell infamously instructed his brother Trevor to bowl underarm at a New Zealand tailender during a 1981 one-day international.

The siblings ignored Marsh’s pleas to abandon the plan and their careers will forever be blighted by the incident.


Born and raised alongside his professional golfer brother Graham in the Perth suburbs, Marsh was brought into the Australia team for the 1970-71 Ashes series.

A few early fumbles contributed to inauspicious start to his test career and the unforgiving Australian media branded him “Iron Gloves”.

The nickname was quickly forgotten, not least once Lillee joined him in the team towards the end of that series. He could have scored his maiden century as early as his fourth test had a declaration not left him stranded on 92 not out.

After hanging up his gloves, Marsh spent 11 years nurturing young Australian talent at the national cricket academy in Adelaide before taking on similar roles for England and at the ICC academy in Dubai.

Marsh’s final role in the game was as chairman of Australia’s selection panel from 2014 to 2016.

He is survived by his wife Roslyn and children Paul, Dan and Jamie.

(Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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