The cricket world was in mourning after the Australian great Rod Marsh died, aged 74. The former wicketkeeper suffered a heart attack in Queensland last week and was placed in an induced coma before being transferred to Adelaide, where he died on Friday.
Marsh played the first of his 96 Tests for Australia in 1970 and came to be regarded as one of his country’s greatest players. He called time on his Test career in 1984, hanging up his gloves with what was then a world record of 355 dismissals and 3,633 runs to his name.
After retiring as a player, he oversaw the nation’s cricket academy and later became a selector. He spent time in England as the director of the ECB national academy during a four-year spell between 2001 and 2005 and also oversaw the ICC’s inaugural world coaching academy in Dubai.
In 2009, he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame, 24 years after being elected to the Sport Australia Hall Of Fame. He also became a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1982.
Tributes from players past and present quickly began to flow for the cricket “legend”.
“So incredibly sad to hear of the passing of Rod (Bacchus) Marsh an absolute icon of Aust cricket,” Mark Waugh tweeted. “Had the pleasure of working with Rod for a number of years as a selector and you wouldn’t meet a more honest, down to earth, kind hearted person. RIP.”
The women’s national team wicketkeeper, Alyssa Healy, said it was a “sad day” while former captain Lisa Sthalekar referred to Marsh as “a legend of a cricketer, a great bloke who made everyone feel welcome in this great game”.
Former player and commentator Kerry O’Keeffe said it was the “saddest of days”. “Outstanding service to Australian cricket…great team mate…mention of his name makes me smile…brilliant dig,” he tweeted.
“His saying, ‘cricket is a simple game made complicated’ still resonates with me,” former men’s Test player David Hussey wrote. “Rod will be missed, thoughts are with his family.”
English commentator Alison Mitchell posted: “Deep sadness for Rod Marsh RIP. Played his part in English cricket as well as Aus, when he headed up England’s first ever National Academy, and was a selector. What a character, what a loss. A legend.”
Peter Nevill, the veteran Australian wicketkeeper, said: “I always found him generous and kind. While chair of selectors, with tongue in cheek, he called my wedding party to tell them they’d been ‘selected’. And witty: ‘Nev, every white wine wishes it was a red wine’.”
Australia’s current Test players are expected to wear black armbands when they get their series in Pakistan under way later on Friday. Captain Pat Cummins had said on Thursday the condition of Marsh, who had “really good relationships” with a number of players, had been playing on the their minds in the buildup to the match in Rawalpindi.
More to follow.