Morrison leads tributes to Australia’s Rod Marsh

(Reuters) – Australian cricket was in mourning on Friday following the death of Rod Marsh, with tributes for the former wicketkeeper by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and from across the cricketing community.

Marsh, who played 96 tests and 92 one-day internationals in the 1970s and 1980s, was 74 and died in Adelaide after a heart attack while on his way to a charity event in Bundaberg in Queensland on Feb. 24.

“Very sad to hear of the passing of Rod Marsh,” Morrison wrote on Twitter.”As a kid he was my favourite player. He was part of one of the most exciting eras in Australian and world cricket. He will be remembered as one of Australia’s greatest ever Test cricket players.”

Regarded as one of Australia’s finest wicketkeepers, Marsh retired in 1984 with a then-world record tally of 355 dismissals.

He is fourth on the all-time dismissals list behind South Africa’s Mark Boucher (555) and Australians Adam Gilchrist (416) and Ian Healy (395).”I’m shattered, absolutely stunned,” Gilchrist told the 6PR broadcaster.

“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.”

Marsh’s death was confirmed by his son, Paul, in a statement released by the Australian Cricketers’ Association.

“On behalf of my mother Ros and brothers Dan and Jamie, it is with immense sadness that I advise that my father Rod passed away peacefully early this morning,” he said.

“He has been an incredible husband, father and grandfather and we have been so fortunate to have him in all our lives.”

Marsh made his test debut against England in November 1970 and scored 3,633 test runs during a career that lasted more than 13 years.

The Western Australian famously combined with fast bowler Dennis Lillee to take 95 wickets during the pair’s career together.

Marsh played his final test against Pakistan in January 1984 and later became a national selector.

He was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2009 before stepping away from the game in 2016.

“(Rod) was brilliant to deal with because he knew the game inside-out, but also had a way of dealing with you to put you at your ease,” said current Australia captain Pat Cummins.

“When I think of Rod I think of a generous and larger-than-life character who always had a life-loving, positive and relaxed outlook, and his passing leaves a massive void in the Australian cricket community.”