Rod Marsh: Legendary Australia wicketkeeper dies aged 74 after heart attack

Rod Marsh
Marsh was added to the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2009

Legendary Australia wicketkeeper Rod Marsh has died aged 74 after suffering a heart attack.

Marsh was taken ill last Thursday while travelling to a charity cricket match in Queensland.

He effected 355 dismissals - a world record at the time of his retirement - in 96 Test appearances for Australia from 1970 to 1984.

He also played 92 one-day internationals and served as Australia men's chairman of selectors until 2016.

Marsh is third on Australia's all-time dismissals list behind Adam Gilchrist with 416 and Ian Healy's 395.

Australia Test great Mark Waugh described Marsh as "an absolute icon" of the sport.

Waugh continued: "I 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."

Former Australia one-day international David Hussey paid tribute on Twitter, writing: "Rod will be missed.

"His saying, 'cricket is a simple game made complicated' still resonates with me."

First Australian keeper to score a Test century

Rod Marsh
Rod Marsh averaged 26.51 with the bat in 96 Test appearances for Australia

Marsh would go on to form a formidable partnership with fast bowler Dennis Lillee, with the pair combining for a record 95 Test dismissals.

However, he had a difficult start to his Test career and was nicknamed 'Iron Gloves' during his first series against England in 1970-71 after dropping numerous catches.

He came close to a maiden century during that Ashes series, making an unbeaten 92 in Melbourne before captain Bill Lawry declared with Australia nine down.

Marsh did not feel as though he had missed out on a century, saying that he thought Lawry should have declared much earlier.

He later became the first Australian wicketkeeper to score a Test century when he reached triple figures against England in the 1977 Centenary Test.

On the 1981 tour of England, Marsh became the first keeper to claim 100 dismissals in Ashes Tests.

After retiring Marsh commentated on Australian television before taking on a coaching role at the Australian National Academy.

He later took on a similar role with the England and Wales Cricket Board and was a selector for the men's team from 2001 to 2005.

Marsh served as the Australian chairman of selectors from 2014 to 2016, stepping down after Australia were hammered at home by South Africa.

'I thought he was invincible' - cricket pays tribute to Marsh

Australia Test captain Pat Cummins said Marsh's death had left a "massive void" in Australian cricket.

"I, along with countless other people in Australia, grew up hearing the stories of him as a fearless and tough cricketer," Cummins said.

"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."

Former Australia captain Greg Chappell, who played alongside Marsh, described him as "the spiritual leader of the group", while Ian Chappell said "anybody that met him enjoyed his company".

Former Australia keeper Gilchrist said he was "stunned," adding: "I thought he was invincible. He was my absolute idol and hero and inspiration as to why I pursued what I did. The impact he had on my life is profound."

Ex-Australia all-rounder Shane Watson also paid tribute, stating he "wouldn't be the person I am today if it wasn't for Rod and his amazing skill to know how to get the best out of every young cricketer".

Ex-England bowler Chris Tremlett described Marsh as "a great man who helped guide me and many others on the right path in my younger years and taught me what it takes to play international cricket".

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is a keen cricket fan, wrote on Twitter that Marsh would be remembered as "one of Australia's greatest ever Test cricket players".

"As a kid he was my favourite player. He was a fierce competitor and a fine sportsman who valued what the game stood for," Morrison added.

"Rod Marsh was a proud Western Australian and an absolute Aussie legend."

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