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Lillee's emotional tribute to Australian great Marsh at funeral

March 17, 2022 13:10 IST
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IMAGE: Rodney Marsh, left, Dennis Lillee, right, and Greg Chappell during their last Test match together for Australia against Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground, on January 3, 1984. Photograph: Adrian Murrell/Allsport/Getty Images

Former Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee led the tributes at much-loved cricketer Rod Marsh's funeral on Thursday, describing the wicketkeeper-batsman who died earlier this month as a unique man with whom he developed a lasting friendship.

 

Marsh, who played 96 Tests in the 1970s and 1980s, died at the age of 74 in Adelaide, eight days after suffering a heart attack while on his way to a charity event in Queensland.

"Caught Marsh, bowled Lillee" appeared on Test scorecards 95 times as the moustachioed Western Australian combination wreaked havoc on opposing batting orders in a golden era for cricket Down Under.

"It's taken me days to be able to write my thoughts down on this amazing bloke," Lillee said in Adelaide. "I don't want to talk about his cricket ability because that's been very well documented - it's the person Rod Marsh that I loved.

"It's something that grew over time, even after our careers were finished."

Lillee, who made his Test debut in the same Ashes series as Marsh, told around 800 people in attendance that his friendship with the wicketkeeper did not get off to the best start.

"One day after a day's play, him, unusually with a beer in his hand and me pouring a full-strength soft drink ready to chat, he said to me, 'I gotta tell you, I don't trust you'," Lillee said to laughter.

"Gradually our friendship blossomed. I miss my mate and will keep remembering the good times. He was a one-off."

Marsh's professional golfer brother Graham recalled how the cricketer had rescued him from a town bully in their childhood.

"I learnt two valuable lessons from my little brother that day, I always wanted to be on his team, and secondly, he would do anything to protect his family," Graham said.

A recorded message from former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist was played out before Marsh's former team mates John Inverarity and Bruce Laird spoke.

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Source: REUTERS
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