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'Captain's dream': Tributes for cricket legend Rod Marsh who died aged 74

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3rd March, 2022
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Former Australian wicketkeeper Rod Marsh has died, aged 74, eight days after suffering a heart attack.

Marsh died in Adelaide on Friday after his heart attack in Bundaberg last Thursday.

He played 96 Tests for Australia between 1970 and 1984 as one of the nation’s finest players and was denied more because he chose to play World Series Cricket. He later became Australia’s chairman of selectors from early 2014 to late 2016.

Marsh came into the Test team amidst controversy and was dubbed ‘Iron Gloves’ after some early fumbles, but soon established himself as a match winner and became the first test wicketkeeper to score a century for Australia.

Marsh had been in Bundaberg for a cricket event when he suffered a major heart attack and was rushed to hospital.

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He was transferred to an Adelaide hospital earlier this week.

Australian captain Pat Cummins said earlier this week he and his teammates had Marsh in their thoughts ahead of the first Test, set to begin in Rawalpindi on Friday.

“We’ve been following from afar,” he said.

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“We’re all rallying behind him and his family and (Marsh’s wife) Ros.”

“Quite a few players and staff members have had really good relationships with Rod in the past,” said Cummins.

“Obviously we wish him all the best. It’s really tough. It’s certainly been a conversation point over here. We’re all rallying around him.”

On Sunday, Marsh’s son, Paul, said his family had been “overwhelmed” by the outpouring of concern for his father.

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Marsh had a flair for the spectacular as a batsman and wicketkeeper and his partnership with Dennis Lillee was the best we’ve ever seen – no duo in the history of the game has combined for more dismissals.

“As players, they were a captain’s dream,” wrote Ian Chappell in a combined biography of the pair.

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” At one end a talented fast bowler who, with huge heart, was always ready to give just one last effort for his team … At the other end a man whose skill with the gloves could lift a team with a brilliant catch or who could offer some tactical advice that might turn a game in the team’s favour.”

Marsh was forthright and never took a backward step.

He tried to talk Greg Chappell down from his decision to have Trevor Chappell bowl underarm against the Kiwis imploring “no way mate, no way mate, you can’t do this”

On retirement from playing Marsh had a brief stint in the commentary box for Nine but was sacked by Kerry packer for being critical of the number of one day matches on the schedule.

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He then turned his attention to coaching and player development with a large measure of success – taking over as head coach of the Australian Cricket Academy in Adelaide in the 1990s and early 2000s where he was integral to the careers of Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee among others.

The tributes flowed in after the news broke Friday.

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