• Rikki Lambert

Australian cricket mourns Warne, Marsh


In a tragic week for Australian cricket fans, two of the game's icons have been lost in Rod Marsh and Shane Warne.


Within 24 hours of Warne posting this tribute to Rod Marsh, he too was lost to his family and his countless fans:


Shane Warne died in Thailand and is being remembered as a unique character with a zest for life,  following his sudden death from a suspected heart attack.


News broke in the early hours of Saturday morning that the 52-year-old was found unresponsive in his villa in Koh Samui, Thailand.


A statement from Warne's management said the father of three could not be revived despite the efforts of medics. 


Warne's death has led to an outpouring of grief on social media.


Hollywood star Russell Crowe tweeted he was having a hard time accepting the news. 

"Genius player. Grand company. Loyal friend," he tweeted.






Victorian rising snooker star Neil Robertson was playing in the Welsh Open when news broke of Warne's death and lost, affected by the news.


Australia's men's Test team had just finished play on day one in Pakistan when the news broke, while the women were set to wake to it as they begin their World Cup in New Zealand on Saturday. A clearly emotional Pat Cummins said:

"Hard to fathom. Warnie was an all-time great. A once-in-a-century type cricketer and his records will live on forever.
We all grew up watching Warnie, idolising him. We all had posters on our walls, had his earrings.
"We loved so much about Warnie. His showmanship, his charisma, his tactics, the way he just willed himself and the team around him to win games for Australia.
"There are so many guys in this team and squad who still have him as a hero and all-time favourite player. The loss we are trying to wrap our head around is huge.
"The game of cricket was never the same after Shane emerged, and it will never be the same now he has gone. Rest in peace King."

Warne was Australia's greatest-ever bowler and arguably the country's second-greatest cricketer in history behind Don Bradman.


Named one of the five cricketers of the 20th century by Wisden when he was still midway through his career, Warne owned the field in the way few others have.


A magician with the ball, the legspinner remains Australia's leading wicket-taker and sits second behind Muthiah Muralidaran globally with 708 scalps in 145 Tests.


He played one of the most influential roles in Australia's golden era of cricket, announcing himself with the magic ball that bowled Mike Gatting in 1993 and bowing out with a 5-0 Ashes whitewash at home in 2006-07.


In between times, he bowled Australia to the 1999 World Cup, helping them back from the brink with unforgettable displays in the semi-final and final.

Such was Warne's brilliance, he took a record 96 wickets in the penultimate year of his career.


All up he finished with 1001 international wickets across all formats, earning spots in the ICC, Australian cricket and Australian sport Hall of Fame. Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley said:

"Shane was one of the most talented and charismatic cricketers we have ever witnessed,"  
"He loved cricket, had an extraordinarily astute understanding of the game and his influence and legacy will last for as long as it is played.
"We are in a state of complete shock at his sudden passing."

Thai police have since told Reuters that Warne's body had been taken for an autopsy and friends who found him would be spoken with, but added there were no signs of foul play.


SHANE WARNE (September 13, 1969 - March 4, 2022)

* Tests: 145

* Test Wickets: 708 at 25.41

* Test Runs: 3154 at 17.32

* ODIs: 194

* ODI wickets: 293 at 25.73

* ODI runs: 1018 and 13.05

* One of five Wisden Cricketers of 20th century

* Australian Cricket Hall of Fame

* ICC Cricket Hall of Fame

* Sport Australia Hall of Fame

* 1999 World Cup winner

* 1999 World Cup player of the final



 



Earlier in the week, Australian cricket lost wicketkeeping and coaching legend Rod Marsh.


Marsh died, aged 74, after suffering a heart attack last week.


Marsh died in an Adelaide hospital after suffering a heart attack in Queensland last week. Test captain Pat Cummins recounted:

"Rod was a colossal figure of Australian cricket.
"He gave us almost 50 years of incredible service.
"He reinvented the role of the wicketkeeper.
"He was the first Australian wicketkeeper to score a (Test) hundred, he was incredible behind the stumps and a brave, swashbuckling style is what left long-lasting memories."

Marsh suffered a heart attack in Bundaberg, Queensland, last Thursday.


He was transferred in an induced coma to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, in the city he resided, earlier this week. Marsh's son Paul said in a statement on behalf of his family:

"He has been an incredible husband, father and grandfather and we have been so fortunate to have had him in all our lives,"
"We are so grateful for all the love and support our family has received from so many people over the last week. It has given us strength in the most difficult week of our lives."

A combative wicketkeeper-batsman, Marsh played 96 Test matches for Australia between 1970 and 1984 and 92 one-day internationals.


On retirement, he held Test cricket's then-world-record for most wicketkeeping dismissals, 355, and scored three Test centuries in his decorated career.


While Marsh's on-field exploits were legendary, the deep thinker of the game was also renowned worldwide as a coach and talent-spotter.


Marsh headed Australia's cricket academy before filling the same role in England and was the inaugural head of an International Cricket Council world coaching academy in Dubai.


He also served as commentator and became Australia's chairman of selectors in 2014, a position he held for two years.


Cricket Australia's chairman Lachlan Henderson said on Friday:

"This is a tremendously sad day for Australian cricket and for all those who loved and admired Rod Marsh.
"Rod will be forever remembered for the way he played the game.
"Rod also made an enormous contribution to the game by identifying, coaching and mentoring many future stars in his various roles as coach and director at cricket academies in Australia and other cricket playing nations."

Australia's Test players wore black arm-bands when the first Test against Pakistan starts later on Friday in Rawalpindi, as a mark of respect for Marsh.


Tributes from Australia and around the world have flooded social media on news of the death of Marsh, who became a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1982 and was elected to the Sport Australia Hall Of Fame in 1985 and the Cricket Hall Of Fame in 2005. Sport Australia Hall of Fame chairman John Bertrand said:

"Rod Marsh was more than just a successful wicketkeeper-batsman, he was tactical, spoke without fear and spotted the talents of our Aussie's best.
"Respected by all those he played with and against, Marsh had a wicked sense of humour, loved by teammates, loved by the country."

Marsh leaves his wife Ros and sons Dan, who captained Tasmania to their first Sheffield Shield win, Paul, a former CEO of the Australian Cricketers' Association, and Jamie.