Cricket is a global sport, where fans follow their idols religiously and follow them closely even after they are retired. The last few months have been extremely tragic in nature, especially for Australian cricket devotees. Let’s pay our last respects to three true legends.
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September 1969 – March 2022
The cricketing fraternity was bracing itself for IPL 2022 when the tragic news broke. Shane Warne, one of the greatest spinners of all time, had expired at the relatively young age of 52. He was vacationing in Thailand at the time and not much was known about the circumstances. This came as a huge shock to anyone who followed cricket in the 90s, considered by many to be the golden decade.
Warne’s bowling style was considered revolutionary at the time. He dominated the sport when pacers were considered to be the real deal – Wasim Akram (Pakistan), Curtly Ambrose (West Indies), Allan Donald (South Africa), Javagal Srinath (India), and Glenn McGrath (Australia), just to name a few. He had many variations, even on uneven pitches. His “flipper” was arguably the most dreaded delivery of them all.
They say the numbers don’t lie. Here’s a quick run down of the highlights.
- The first to 700 wickets in Test cricket (708 in total)
- 5 wickets in a Test cricket innings – 37 times
- 10 wickets in a Test match – 10 times
- Most Ashes Series wickets – 195 in 36 matches
- First IPL winner as a captain with the Rajasthan Royals
Besides his sporting credentials, Shane Warne was known for his flamboyant personality and wild nights after (and before) games. But when it was game time, very few could compete with the intensity of Shane Warne. RIP legend.
Rodney “Rod” Marsh
September 1947 – March 2022
So tragic was the untimely demise of Shane Warne, that Rodney Marsh’s death on the very same day slipped below most radars. While this legendary Aussie wicketkeeper was in his 70s, his death was noted by old timers who followed Test cricket religiously in the 70s and early 80s. Rod will always be remembered for his typical Aussie combative nature and match-winning contributions with the bat.
Marsh was primarily a wicketkeeper, a very successful one at that. He took a total of 343 catches in Test cricket, often off the deadly bowling of Dennis Lillie. The dynamic duo combined for 95 successful hunts, a record that stands to this day. Marsh retired in 1983 and transitioned to a career in sports broadcasting and coaching youngsters (Brett Lee, Adam Gilchrist, etc) at the Australian Cricket Academy.
June 1975 – May 2022
Just when it seemed like things were returning to normal, came another shocker. Andrew Symonds was pronounced dead after suffering fatal injuries in a car accident. The well-built and strong all-rounder, who terrorized opposing teams in the 90s and early 00s, left us at the age of 46. Not much is known about the cause of this accident, but cricket fans all across the world are still shaken by this news.
Some quick highlights before we continue:
- 2 World Cup wins
- 8 centuries and 40 fifties with an overall average of almost 40
- A total of 157 wickets in international cricket
- 4 catches in one ODI innings (Only Jonty Rhodes has more – 5)
- 6550 runs in international cricket
The bulky, strong, and muscular Symonds was a true force for Team Australia. He was capable of demolishing teams single-handedly with his brilliant stroke-making and ball-reading skills. He was a terrific bowler who took key wickets and also a menacing presence while fielding, with his trademark sunscreen covered lips and penetrating thrash talk. All in all, a true legend of the game. RIP Symo!
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