Syed Kirmani on Rod Marsh: On a personal front, it is a huge loss to me

Australian wicketkeeping great Rod Marsh passed away on Friday. He was 74.

Syed Kirmani shared a special bond with Rod Marsh, whom the world sadly lost on Friday.   -  PTI

Syed Kirmani shared a special bond with Rod Marsh, whom the world sadly lost on Friday.

The wicket-keepers are a closely knit tribe and Kirmani recalled his association with Marsh during India’s tour of Australia in 1981.

Kirmani, arguably India’s greatest wicketkeeper, said to Sportstar, “I was a great admirer of Rod Marsh, his anticipation, reflexes, fitness and that ability to take gravity-defying catches.”

Kirmani remembered, “We had a culture those days when the batting side would come to the dressing room of the fielding team after the day’s play, a culture introduced by Bishan Bedi.”

He continued, “I asked Rodney what I needed to do to have his great reflexes and fitness and he told me, ‘Kiri you already have all these attributes.’” 

Kirmani said, “Apart from his astonishing ‘keeping, Marsh scored runs in crisis situations. He inspired and motivated the side. And guided the bowlers.”

READ| Former Australia wicketkeeper Rod Marsh dies aged 74

An emotional Kirimani said, “And he would just fly to take those catches. ‘Caught Marsh bowled Lillee’ became so common.”

Kirmani said, “Marsh was aggressive without being arrogant. A class act.”

The Indian stumper recalled an occasion in England at a party thrown by the ICC ahead of the 1983 World Cup. “All the major ‘keepers were present. Marsh, Alan Knott, Bob Taylor, Wasim Bari, Jeff Dujon, Ian Smith and myself.”

Kirmani said, “Gradually, the conversation shifted to who was the best among us. And Knott and Marsh said in unison, ‘It’s you Kiri because we don’t keep wickets to B.S. Chandrasekhar, Bedi and Erapalli Prasanna.”     

The ace Indian stumper said, “Marsh had so many great achievements. Yet he said this. He was a humble person.”

And none was happier than Marsh when Kirmani, adjudged the ‘Best ‘Keeper’ of the 1983 World Cup, won a glove and a ball, both in silver.

Kirmani said, “We got along so well. His death is a great loss to the cricketing community that appears to have neglected ‘keeping with teams being without a wicket-keeping coach.”

“On a personal front, it is a huge loss to me,” Kirmani concluded. 

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