Graham Gooch honours two Australian Legends


Cricket lost two icons this week after the passing of Australians, Rod Marsh and Shane Warne.

Graham Gooch faced both players during his playing career and pays his tribute to his two friends in the game with some special memories.

It is a real tragedy for not only Australian cricket, but for cricket lovers all around the world.

Rod Marsh played in my first Test match in 1975 at Edgbaston and he was an iconic Australian cricketer. He turned out to be a brilliant wicket-keeper, charismatic character and batsman. Rod was a real good solid team player and they always said how he had Australia stamped through his heart like a stick of rock; the archetypal tough Australian sportsman who was hard but fair.

I remember many occasions when we shared a beer and discussed cricket after a day’s play, and I got to know him well through my playing days and his time in England working for the ECB as a Test selector between 2001-05.

I used to enjoy my time on the field with Rod. He sits alongside the likes of the Chappell brothers, Lillee and Thomson as the iconic players you remember from that era in the Australian team and will be missed by many.


Graham faced many battles with Shane Warne during his time with Essex and England and holds many fond memories of a special cricketer.

The passing of Shane has been another unbelievable shock. A truly remarkable player who was a great man on and off the field.

We didn’t know much about Shane when I captained England against him for the first time in 1993. There were very few analytical opportunities in those days and all we had seen was a little bit of footage on VHS of him bowling as he had only played a handful of games at that time.

My former Essex teammate and Australian captain at that time, Allan Border believed in him and of course, that first ball he sent down in Test cricket was the ‘ball of the century’ at Old Trafford. I was fortunate to be at the non-striker’s end that day and that moment will be remembered by cricket fans forever.


Shane was brilliant on the field and a very positive cricketer who always wanted to win every match. His outlook on the game was always looking to risk losing the game in favour of securing the win, which I admired as it was how I was brought up at Essex under the captaincy of Keith Fletcher.

He was the best spinner I ever played against as he was so consistent.

I categorise Shane in two ways. Firstly, you have the leg-spin bowler who was able to use a combination of sidespin and overspin, along with his renowned flipper before his shoulder issues later on in his career. He had all the skills and control to test the best batsman, and his way of applying the pressure through length and line was second to none.

The other side to him was the man. He created a legendary status for himself and became an icon for many cricket fans around the world.

As a batsman, you had to try and play the ball and not the legend when facing him, which was easy to say and less easy to do with Shane. He had that competitive character alongside the bowling skills, so it was a winning combination.

Above all else, through the 90s and 00s, he elevated spin bowling to the highest level, making it attractive again and inspiring a whole generation of spin bowlers.

We’re all shocked following the news and it’s hard to put into words what he meant to cricket and the way he entertained.

As a player, it’s important that you are able to entertain, make people happy and excite those watching cricket. Shane was certainly someone who did that in abundance.

My thoughts are with the family and friends of Rod and Shane at this sad time and cricket has lost two greats of the game.>