Rod Marsh

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Rod Marsh

Personal information
Full name
Rodney William Marsh
Born(1947-11-04)4 November 1947
Armadale, Western Australia
Died4 March 2022(2022-03-04) (aged 74)
Adelaide, South Australia
NicknameBacchus, Iron Gloves
BowlingRight-arm off break
RelationsGraham Marsh (brother)
Daniel Marsh (son)
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 249)27 November 1970 v England
Last Test6 January 1984 v Pakistan
ODI debut (cap 7)5 January 1971 v England
Last ODI12 February 1984 v West Indies
Domestic team information
1968/69–1983/84Western Australia
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI FC LA
Matches 96 92 257 140
Runs scored 3,633 1,225 11,067 2,119
Batting average 26.51 20.08 31.17 23.03
100s/50s 3/16 0/4 12/55 0/9
Top score 132 66 236 99*
Balls bowled 72 0 142 23
Wickets 0 1 0
Bowling average 84.00
5 wickets in innings 0
10 wickets in match 0
Best bowling 1/0
Catches/stumpings 343/12 120/4 803/66 182/6
Source: Cricinfo, 20 November 2008

Rodney William Marsh MBE (4 November 1947 – 4 March 2022)[1] was an Australian professional cricketer who played as a wicketkeeper for the Australian national team.

Marsh had a Test career spanning from the 1970–71 to the 1983–84 Australian seasons. In 96 Tests, he set a world record of 355 wicketkeeping dismissals, the same number his pace bowling Western Australian teammate Dennis Lillee achieved with the ball. The pair were known for their bowler–wicketkeeper partnership, which yielded 95 Test wickets, a record for any such combination.[2] They made their Test debuts in the same series and retired from Test cricket in the same match. Wisden stated that "Few partnerships between bowler and wicket-keeper have had so profound an impact on the game."[3]

Marsh had a controversial start to his Test career, selected on account of his batting abilities. Sections of the media lampooned Marsh's glovework, dubbing him "Iron Gloves" after sloppy catching in his debut Test. His keeping improved over time and by the end of his career he was regarded as one of the finest in the history of the sport. He was widely regarded for his sense of team discipline, in particular after Bill Lawry controversially declared the Australian first innings closed in the Fifth Test of the 1970–71 series at the MCG with Marsh eight runs short of a century.[4][5] He was known for his athletic keeping.[6] He was nicknamed Australia's marshal due to his ability to uplift the spirit and energy within the Australian side by having some word with opponent batsmen during his playing days which had also influenced a shift in momentum in several occasions where Australia would go on to win matches from precarious situations.[7] He continued to maintain his work ethics when he refused to sign a cricket bat in 2009 which had the signature of former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns, with the latter being later found guilty of involving in a spot-fixing scandal.[8]

In 2009, Marsh was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.[9]

Early years[edit]

Marsh was born in the Perth suburb of Armadale on 4 November 1947 to Barbara and Ken Marsh.[10] Marsh played backyard cricket with his older brother Graham, who became a professional golfer and won eleven times on the European Tour. Both brothers represented Western Australia at cricket at schoolboy level. Marsh played his first competitive match at the age of eight for the Armadale under-16s, where he also kept wicket.[11] At thirteen he captained the state schoolboys' team,[7] and joined the West Perth district club.[12]

When he debuted for West Perth's first XI he was a specialist batsman, as Western Australia wicketkeeper Gordon Becker also represented the club. In order to further his keeping, Marsh joined the University club. He formed a bond with Dennis Lillee since 1966 at a time when Marsh was serving as a trainee teacher with the University Club. Since then, he has been dubbed as Lillee's partner-in-crime by critics.[12]

Marsh made his first-class debut for Western Australia, again as a specialist batsman, against the touring West Indies in 1968–69. He had an unusual match, scoring 0 and 104.[3] His whirlwind knock of 104 on state debut against a fancied West Indian bowling attack which comprised Garfield Sobers, Charlie Griffith and Wes Hall.[7]

Test career[edit]

Marsh replaced the retired Becker from the 1969–70 season.[12] At the time, Australia was touring India and South Africa with Brian Taber and Ray Jordon as the team's wicketkeepers. In the autumn of 1970, an Australian second team toured New Zealand with John MacLean as wicketkeeper. Therefore, Marsh was behind these players in the pecking order.[13] However, he was a controversial selection for the first Test of the 1970–71 Ashes series, replacing Taber; Marsh was selected for his batting.[7][12]

The media was quick to criticise Marsh's glovework in his early career, dubbing him "Iron Gloves" after he missed a number of catches.[14] Even on his debut in the First Test in the 1970–71 Ashes series he took four catches in his first innings. His batting proved invaluable on a number of occasions and in the Fifth Test he equalled the record for the highest Test innings by an Australian keeper, set by Don Tallon. The end of the innings was controversial; the captain Bill Lawry declared with Marsh eight runs short of a century[15][16] so he could get an extra hour of bowling before stumps. When questioned by the press about his lost chance to make an historic century Marsh said he had gained forty runs instead of missing eight as he thought Lawry should have declared an hour earlier.[17] Even though Marsh was unbeaten on 92 before declaration was made, Marsh emphasized first priority for the team before personal milestones and achievements. His gesture eventually would help him to win accolades and also to stamp a sense of authority and loyalty among the fans as well as among the teammates. Marsh later admitted that he was underprepared as a wicketkeeper, but he learned from watching his English counterpart Alan Knott.[3] He and Knott did, however, concede the same number of byes in the series: 44.

Marsh became an integral part of the team as the side improved during the 1972 tour of England. He was deemed a strong gatekeeper to Australia's baggy green culture and was known for his authorship of Australian team victory song "Under the Southern Cross I Stand" which he co-opted from the original version of Henry Lawson’s 1887 poem "Flag of the Southern Cross".[18] Marsh initially had the role of leading the team in singing it, and on his retirement he passed it on to Allan Border.[19][20]

It was revealed that it was Marsh who started the victory celebration by narrating the song following Australia's emphatic victory against England on the final day of the fifth and final test match on 16 August 1972 at The Oval where Australia successfully chased down 242 with 5 wickets to spare.[18][21]

He became the first Australian keeper to hit a century by scoring 118 in the first Test against Pakistan at Adelaide in 1972–73.[22] He also hit 236 against the tourists for Western Australia, the best score of his career. Playing a key role in Australia's series victories over England and the West Indies in the series of 1974–75 and 1975–76, Marsh made many acrobatic dives to catch balls delivered by Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson. He took 45 dismissals in those two series, including a world-record 26 catches in six Tests against the West Indies.[3]

Marsh scored an unbeaten 110 in the second innings of the Centenary Test against England in 1977, becoming the first Australian wicketkeeper to score a Test century against England. In the same match he passed Wally Grout's Australian wicket-keeping record of 187 Test dismissals.[3] He scored a further 16 half centuries. In first class matches, he accumulated 11 centuries including a best of 236, aggregating more than 10000 runs in his career.[15]

When the breakaway World Series Cricket was formed, Marsh had no hesitation in signing for Kerry Packer. He claimed 54 dismissals in 16 Supertests.[23] Upon his return to traditional international cricket in 1979–80, his age did not affect his keeping ability. On the 1981 tour of England, he took 23 dismissals to become the first wicketkeeper to take 100 dismissals in Ashes Tests, broke Knott's world record in 22 fewer Tests and passed 3000 runs in Test cricket.[3]

He was the wicketkeeper, in the infamous underarm bowling incident of 1981 which happened during the 3rd final of the 1980–81 Australia Tri-Nation Series.[24]

In 1982–83, his penultimate season, he took 28 dismissals against England, including nine and eight in the second and third Test respectively.[15] His batting form fell away towards the end of his Test career, his last 22 Tests yielding only 589 runs at an average of 19.63.[25] On his final test match appearance against Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 6 January 1984, he effected five dismissals and set a then world record for most test dismissals by a keeper at that time with 355.[26] He also became the first keeper to reach 350 dismissals. Marsh's retirement coincided with those of Dennis Lillee and former Australia captain Greg Chappell.[27]


Powerfully built, Marsh was regarded as an all rounder for the majority of his career. Coupled with his short stature, his power suited him to the task of keeping wicket. Despite his bulk, which forced him to work heavily on reducing his weight in his early career, he had fast foot movement, combined with fast anticipation and reflexes, which allowed him to cover more ground. He raised the role of wicketkeeper to a more prominent status in a team with his acrobatic diving, raucous appeals and habit of throwing a ball high into the air upon completing a dismissal. As the wicketkeeper, he made himself the focal point in the field and attempted to extract higher standards of concentration from both himself and his teammates.[15] Speaking of his understanding with Lillee, he said, "I've played with him so much now that most of the time I know what he is going to do before he has bowled ... I know from the way he runs up; the angle, the speed, where he hits the crease, where the ball is going to be."[3]

At state level, Marsh was a noted captain, leading the state to a Sheffield Shield and Gillette Cup double in both forms of the game in 1976–77. He had nine wins and seven losses in 20 Shield matches as captaincy, and seven from nine matches in the limited overs competition.[15]

Marsh was an effective player in ODI matches, contributing as a keeper and a lower order batsman. His power and aggression was put to good use in the closing overs, when he could score at a rapid rate. In one match against New Zealand in 1980–81 against Lance Cairns at the Adelaide Oval, he struck 26 from the final over, with three sixes and two fours, before falling on the final ball.[15][28]

Coaching and other non-playing duties[edit]

Marsh was a cricket commentator for Channel Nine's international matches between 1986–1990 and 1996–1998.[29]

He was a coach at the Australian Cricket Academy in Adelaide since its inception and was its director from 1990 to 2001.[30] Some of his former proteges include Australian internationals wicketkeeper–batsman Adam Gilchrist and fast bowlers Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee.[15]

Marsh was the Director of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) national academy from October 2001 to September 2005.[31] During this time, England went from being a mediocre team to challenging Australia as the best team in Test cricket and in 2005, they regained the Ashes after 16 years in Australian hands with a 2–1 win.[32] Marsh later criticised the ECB for releasing Troy Cooley, who had trained England's four pronged pace battery, and attacked Duncan Fletcher's selection of Geraint Jones as the wicket keeper ahead of Chris Read.[33] He once declared his cricketing allegiance to England and was at one time a selector for the English team.[34]

In August 2006, the South Australian Cricket Association announced Marsh had been appointed in a consultancy role to undertake a review of cricket throughout South Australia. Marsh had also worked with the Global Cricket Academy in Dubai.[35][36]

He was included in a part-time capacity as a part of the Cricket Australia national selection panel in 2011.[37][38] In 2011, in a newly created role by Cricket Australia he was asked to coach the coaches in order to ensure a unified approach to mentor the players across the states of Australia.[39]

Marsh was appointed chairman of selectors for Cricket Australia on 2 May 2014, replacing John Inverarity.[40][41] He was previously Cricket Australia's manager of elite coaching development. He felt the heat at times from former cricketers including Michael Slater for not selecting Usman Khawaja in the Australian playing XI especially during the Chappell-Hadlee ODI series in February 2016 in New Zealand.[42]

On 16 November 2016, Marsh resigned as chairman of selectors, after a series defeat to South Africa.[43]


Marsh was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 1982 New Year Honours and inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985.[44][45] He was named as one of Wisden's Cricketer of the Year in 1982.[46] He received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and a Centenary Medal in 2001.[47][48]

In 2005, he was inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame by Cricket Australia.[49]

Actor Brendan Cowell portrayed Rod Marsh in the 2012 Australian miniseries Howzat! Kerry Packer's War.[50][51]

In 2015, he became the fourth Australian cricketer to deliver MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture after Richie Benaud, Adam Gilchrist and Simon Taufel.[52][53]

He received Honorary Life Membership of the Marylebone Cricket Club in 1988.[54][55]

Personal life and death[edit]

Marsh's son Daniel Marsh captained the Tasmanian cricket team in the absence of Ricky Ponting in the mid-2000s.[56]

In 2010, he appeared in an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, where it was revealed that his grandmother died after giving birth to one of his aunts, leading his grandfather to put their three children, including Marsh's father Ken, up for adoption.[56]

On 24 February 2022, Marsh was left in a critical condition following a heart attack in Bundaberg, Queensland, whilst en route to a charity event hosted by Queensland Bulls Masters.[57][58] He died eight days later, on 4 March 2022, in Adelaide, South Australia, at the age of 74.[59][60][61]

His death came on the same day as that of fellow Australian cricket icon Shane Warne,[62] who had paid tribute to Marsh in a tweet a few hours prior to his own death in Thailand.

His funeral service was held at the Adelaide Oval on the 17th March, and was hosted by James Brayshaw; amongst the tributes included a recorded eulogy by Adam Gilchrist[63]


  1. ^ Mason, Peter (4 March 2022). "Rod Marsh obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  2. ^ Grover, Sanchit. "5 most successful bowler-wicketkeeper combinations in Test cricket". Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Rodney Marsh". Cricinfo.
  4. ^ Cricket Archive Scorecard: Australia v England, Melbourne Cricket Ground, (21–26 January 1971.
  5. ^ Browning, Mark (2003). Rod Marsh: A Life in Cricket. Rosenberg Publishing Pty, Limited. ISBN 978-1-877058-23-3 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "Former Australia wicketkeeper Rod Marsh passes away". Cricbuzz. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d Fontaine, Angus (4 March 2022). "Rod Marsh: baggy green brigadier and keeper of Australian Test cricket culture". the Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  8. ^ Sapatnekar, Mrunmayi. "Rod Marsh reveals he had once refused to sign a bat with Chris Cairns' autograph". Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  9. ^ Cricinfo (2 January 2009). "ICC and FICA launch Cricket Hall of Fame". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  10. ^ Jackson, Russell (4 March 2022). "Cricket great Rod Marsh dies aged 74". ABC News. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  11. ^ "Rod Marsh: 22 facts from the life of one of greatest wicket-keepers ever". Cricket Country. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  12. ^ a b c d "Rod Marsh: Dennis Lillee's Partner In Crime – Almanack". Wisden. 4 November 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  13. ^ "Rod Marsh Profile - ICC Ranking, Age, Career Info & Stats". Cricbuzz. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  14. ^ "Golden gloves". ESPN Cricinfo. 4 November 2005. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Cashman; Franks; Maxwell; Sainsbury; Stoddart; Weaver; Webster (1997). The A–Z of Australian cricketers. pp. 180–194.
  16. ^ "'I got 92 and Lawry declared on me'". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  17. ^ Ian Chappell, Test Match Special, British Broadcasting Corporation, 11 July 2009
  18. ^ a b "Australian cricket team victory song "Under the Southern Cross I stand": A history". Cricket Country. 14 December 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  19. ^ Stevenson, Andrew (2 January 2007). "Tune in for a new voice in victory". The Age.
  20. ^ Langer, Justin (2010). Australia You Little* Beauty: Inside Test Cricket's Dream Team. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-74269-093-3.
  21. ^ "Summer of 242". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  22. ^ "Rod Marsh, legendary 'keeper-batter, dies aged 74". Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  23. ^ "Rod Marsh's long road to Dominica". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  24. ^ "Full Scorecard of Australia vs New Zealand 3rd Final 1980/81 - Score Report |". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  25. ^ "BBC Sport | Cricket | Ashes | Legends Guide". Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  26. ^ "Full Scorecard of Pakistan vs Australia 5th Test 1983/84 - Score Report |". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  27. ^ Williamson, Martin (5 January 2007). "Three legends bow out at the SCG". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  28. ^ "Rod Marsh slams 26 off an over in classic ODI". Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  29. ^ Otto, Tyson (4 March 2022). "'Deep sadness': Cricket legend dead at 74". — Australia’s leading news site. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  30. ^ "Marsh returns to Adelaide". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  31. ^ "Marsh steps down as selector". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  32. ^ Berry, Scyld (3 March 2022). "Farewell to Rod Marsh - the archetypal Aussie who left a lasting legacy in English cricket". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  33. ^ "Marsh slams ECB decision to let Cooley go". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  34. ^ "Marsh says he's '100% English'". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  35. ^ "Marsh signs on as high performance director". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  36. ^ "Rod Marsh takes up ICC post". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  37. ^ "Rod Marsh and Andy Bichel to join selection panel". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  38. ^ "Rod Marsh courts selection role". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  39. ^ "Rod Marsh to coach the coaches". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  40. ^ "Rod Marsh replaces John Inverarity as Australian cricket's chairman of selectors". ABC. 2 May 2014.
  41. ^ Press, Australian Associated (2 May 2014). "Rod Marsh appointed chairman of selectors by Cricket Australia". the Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  42. ^ "Michael Slater slams Rod Marsh over non-selection of batsman Usman Khawaja". Stuff. 3 February 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  43. ^ "Australian cricket's chairman of selectors Rod Marsh resigns". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  44. ^ "Marsh, Rodney William, MBE". It's an Honour. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  45. ^ "Rod Marsh". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  46. ^ "Rodney Marsh". Cricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  47. ^ "Marsh, Rodney William: Australian Sports Medal". It's an Honour. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  48. ^ "Marsh, Rodney: Centenary Medal". It's an Honour. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  49. ^ Cricinfo Staff (30 January 2005). "Marsh and Hill in Hall of Fame". ESPN. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  50. ^ Yeap, Sue (23 August 2012). "Cowell spins cricket roles". The West Australian. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  51. ^ Brettig, Daniel (13 February 2013). "'We wanted blokes who looked like they'd stood in slips for a long time'". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  52. ^ March 2015, John Pennington Monday 2. "Rod Marsh To Deliver MCC Spirit Of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture". Cricket World. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  53. ^ "Marsh calls for change to no-ball rule". Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  54. ^ "MCC Honorary Life Members". The Marylebone Cricket Club. Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  55. ^ Arun Sawant, Rohan (5 September 2016). "List of cricketers awarded MCC Honourary Life Membership". Cricket Country. Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  56. ^ a b "Cricket legend Rod Marsh discovers dark family secrets". Perth Now. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  57. ^ "Rod Marsh: Former Australia wicketkeeper in critical condition after heart attack". BBC Sport. 24 February 2022. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  58. ^ "Rod Marsh, the former Australia wicketkeeper, in hospital following heart attack". Sky Sports. 24 February 2022. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  59. ^ Conn, Malcolm (3 March 2022). "Cricket legend Rod Marsh dies aged 74". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  60. ^ Meher-Homji, Kersi (4 March 2022). "Rodney Marsh: A great gloveman who became part of nation's folklore". WA Today. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  61. ^ "Former Australia wicketkeeper Rod Marsh dies aged 74". Cricinfo. 4 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  62. ^ "Shane Warne dies aged 52 of suspected heart attack". ABC News. 4 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  63. ^ Sara Garcia and Daniel Keane (17 March 2022). "Criketing legend Rod Marsh remembered in celebration of life at Adelaide Oval". ABC.


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