August 19, 2022

Rodney Marsh, pictured right here on the 1972 Ashes tour of England, was a cricketing big 

One other one of many greats gone too younger.

The shock loss of life of legendary wicketkeeper Rod Marsh on the age of 74 has shot an arrow by the center of each child who watched the Australian cricket staff redefine the picture of the sport within the Nineteen Seventies and 80s.

I ought to know. I used to be considered one of them.

Marsh was the other of the whole lot a world athlete was meant to be.

He didn’t look notably match, he liked a beer and he was as anti-establishment as you would get.

In truth, it was a dialog together with his brother, millionaire golfer Graham Marsh, which was one of many catalysts that led to the best revolution the sport had recognized, World Sequence Cricket.

‘How a lot do you get to play a Take a look at?’ Graham requested.

‘250,’ Rod replied.

‘Thousand?’ queried Graham.

‘{Dollars},’ mentioned Rod.

Marsh is seen in 1975 enjoying a beer with Sunil Gavaskar of India. The Australian legend once drank 45 cans of beer on a flight from Australia to London

Marsh is seen in 1975 having fun with a beer with Sunil Gavaskar of India. The Australian legend as soon as drank 45 cans of beer on a flight from Australia to London 

His older brother’s shock simply strengthened Marsh’s resolve to get a greater deal from cricket authorities, and when quick bowler Dennis Lillee’s supervisor John ‘Strop’ Cornell took the concept of a breakaway competitors to Kerry Packer in 1977, he was one of many first to enroll.

It was an enormous coup for Packer as a result of Marsh, together with fellow West Australian Lillee, the Chappell brothers, and teenager David Hookes have been already superstars, albeit vastly underpaid.

To these of my period they have been greater than cricketers. They have been folks heroes as they strode throughout the hallowed turf of the MCG and Lords, unshaven with their gold chains swinging and shirts unbuttoned.

It was a unique time. They performed arduous, they usually partied arduous.

Marsh’s nickname ‘Bacchus’ originated from the Melbourne suburb Bacchus Marsh, nevertheless it might have simply as precisely derived from the identify of the Roman god of wine.

Marsh laughs with legendary legspinner Shane Warne as they watch a practice session in 2013

Marsh laughs with legendary legspinner Shane Warne as they watch a follow session in 2013

In his humorous 2004 e-book ‘In accordance To Cranium’, former Take a look at spin bowler Kerry O’Keeffe lifted the lid on the primary of the legendary consuming competitions on the Qantas flight from Sydney to London for the 1977 Ashes Tour.

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As O’Keeffe recalled, it was all the time going to be a two-horse race between Doug Walters and Marsh.

Placing collectively a fantasy type information, O’Keeffe noticed their possibilities this fashion:

‘Doug Walters (5-2): Entitled to favouritism. Has simple outcomes over lengthy distances. Educated to the minute. An actual stayer. Will probably be arduous to run down over the ultimate phases. Presumably has two livers.

Rod Marsh (3-1): Confirmed over the course. Possesses billiard desk legs which might be able to holding litres for lengthy intervals. Real risk to the favorite if he can tempo himself. Very powerful down the straight.’

It was a hard-fought contest, with O’Keeffe noting within the e-book that the 2 favourites have been neck and neck as Heathrow got here into sight.

'Caught Marsh (right), bowled Lillee (left)' became the epitaph for 95 Test batsmen

‘Caught Marsh (proper), bowled Lillee (left)’ turned the epitaph for 95 Take a look at batsmen

‘They appear shabby. Marsh has fallen asleep and there’s saliva making its manner down his chin. Walters is trying to gentle the filter of his sixtieth cigarette for the journey.

‘Immediately we’re touching down. The judges are tallying the ticks which were meticulously recorded on an air illness bag and we have now a winner – Doug Walters with 44 cans. Marsh is second with 43 and subsequently declares he’ll higher that the subsequent time he flies to London.

‘Marsh did in truth go on to determine a brand new mark of 45 cans a number of years later and was escorted off the aircraft in a wheelchair. Pundits thought that document would stand for a very long time however alongside got here the Launceston bulldog, David Boon, who posted 53 cans on his flight, a brand new mark which is able to most likely final without end.’

However whereas Marsh proved himself a champion drinker, he was an excellent higher cricketer.

Whereas he earned the merciless nickname ‘Iron Gloves’ because of dropped possibilities early in his profession, he quickly left these days behind him as he established himself as arguably one of the best keeper on the planet.

The notation on the scoreboard: ‘Caught Marsh, bowled Lillee’ turned the epitaph for 95 Take a look at batsmen, making theirs’ essentially the most prolific keeper-bowler partnership within the video games’ historical past.

Marsh made it look straightforward, nevertheless it wasn’t.

The pounding that his arms took from the thunderbolts despatched down by Lillee and Jeff Thomson over the 4 or 5 days of a Take a look at was so painful that he would put uncooked steak in his gloves in a useless try to soak up the punishment.

Marsh was additionally a swashbuckling batsman who might save an innings when required however liked nothing higher than swinging for the fences.

In 92 Exams he scored three centuries and 16 fifties with a highest rating of 132. Notably, he hit 381 fours and 24 sixes.

How arduous did he hit the ball? Effectively, on one notable event he related with such pressure that he broke his bat in half. The look on his face as he ran by for a run whereas gazing down in shock on the shattered deal with in his hand was priceless.

And whereas he was often known as one thing of a larrikin, there was no doubting his nice love and respect for the sport.

Within the Centenary Take a look at in 1977, England batsman Derek Randall was taking part in the innings of his life and appeared like snatching the win from Australia’s grasp.

On 161, he edged a Greg Chappell leg cutter to Marsh who dived to take the catch then rolled on the turf. The Aussies went up in enchantment and umpire Tom Brooks raised his finger.

As Randall headed to the MCG dressing rooms, Marsh walked to Brooks and knowledgeable him that the ball had hit the bottom. Randall was recalled and went on to make 174.

As one commentator wrote, ‘Contemplating the state of the match, and the significance of Randall’s wicket, it was a gesture of sportsmanship seldom witnessed in historical past.’

On the different finish of the sportsmanship scale was the infamous underarm ball bowled to New Zealand’s Brian McKechnie by Australia’s Trevor Chappell on the directions of his brother and captain Greg in 1981.

In footage of the incident, because the Chappell brothers confer on the bowler’s finish and it turns into apparent what’s about to occur, Marsh may be clearly heard calling out to his longtime good friend and skipper, ‘No mate’.

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When his taking part in days have been over Marsh continued to make a serious contribution to cricket, not solely in Australia however internationally as a trainer, mentor and administrator.

Marsh (pictured at The Oval in London in 1981) was the opposite of everything an international athlete was meant to be

Marsh (pictured at The Oval in London in 1981) was the other of the whole lot a world athlete was meant to be

He was additionally head of selectors for the Australian Take a look at aspect, which induced issues for present gamers the Marsh brothers, Mitchell and Shaun, who have been recurrently sledged by opponents claiming they have been solely within the aspect ‘as a result of your Dad picked you.’

In truth the pair are the sons of one other former participant, Geoff Marsh, and no relation to Rod.

When Rod was head of the Australian Cricket Academy in Adelaide within the Nineteen Eighties, I might ring him every so often to speak in regards to the outdated days and the instances to return.

I bear in mind as soon as asking him about one of the best fielder he had ever performed with.

Marsh was a former chairman of selectors for the Australian cricket side. Current players the Marsh brothers, Mitchell and Shaun (pictured with wife Rebecca O'Donovan) were sledged by opponents claiming they were only in the side 'because your Dad picked you'. In fact, the pair were no relation to Rod

Marsh was a former chairman of selectors for the Australian cricket aspect. Present gamers the Marsh brothers, Mitchell and Shaun (pictured with spouse Rebecca O’Donovan) have been sledged by opponents claiming they have been solely within the aspect ‘as a result of your Dad picked you’. In truth, the pair have been no relation to Rod 

He spoke about Ross Edwards and Greg Chappell, after which introduced up a reputation I had by no means heard earlier than.

‘We’ve acquired a child right here on the academy who leaves all of them for lifeless,’ he mentioned. ‘You’ve by no means seen something like him.’

‘What’s his identify?’ I requested.

‘Ricky Ponting. Write it down.’

One other time I requested him in regards to the glory days of Ian Chappell’s all-conquering Take a look at staff.

‘Effectively, we had one thing that no different staff did. That was the distinction,’ he mentioned.

‘What was that?’ I requested.

‘D.Ok Lillee.’

Additionally they had one thing else that no-one else did, and by no means will.

Rodney Marsh.

Marsh talks with Steve Smith during training in Adelaide ahead a Test match against New Zealand in 2015

Marsh talks with Steve Smith throughout coaching in Adelaide forward a Take a look at match towards New Zealand in 2015