Former Test wicketkeeper Rod Marsh was rushed to hospital on Thursday after suffering a heart attack, sending shockwaves through Australian cricket.
Marsh, who played 96 Tests and 92 one-day internationals, had the heart attack while being driven to a hotel in Bundaberg soon after landing in the city in northern Queensland state, Australian media reported.
The 74 year-old was in Bundaberg for a charity cricket match for Bulls Masters, a local non-profit organisation.
Two officials from Bulls Masters were in the car with Marsh and drove him to a Bundaberg hospital, the Daily Telegraph quoted the charity’s boss Jimmy Maher as saying.
“(They) deserve so much credit because the doctor said if they had waited for an ambulance (Marsh) would not have made it,” Maher told the paper.
“The medical staff at the Bundaberg Hospital were wonderful. We are all shocked. It’s terrible.”
The paper said doctors at the hospital had saved Marsh’s life but he might need to be moved to Brisbane for an operation.
Ian Chappell, a former Australia captain and team mate of Marsh, said he was unaware of Marsh ever having heart trouble.
“He rang me more than anyone else when I had the stroke, he rang me a lot when I was in hospital,” Chappell told The Age. “Of late we’ve spoken a couple of times a week and he’s never said anything – he’s always been chirpy and I’ve never known him to have any heart trouble.
“If he gets with Dennis [Lillee] or any of his mates he usually has a big drink, but Rodney’s had a lot of practice at that. He’s tested out that constitution on many occasions and it’s never failed him yet.”
Regarded as one of Australia’s finest wicketkeepers, Marsh retired in 1984 with what was then a world record 355 dismissals.
He is third on Australia’s list of record dismissals by wicketkeepers, behind Adam Gilchrist (416) and Ian Healy (395).
Marsh later became a selector for Australia’s national teams before retiring from the role in 2016.
“We are very concerned to hear the news about Rod and send him all our best wishes,” Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley said in a statement.
“Rod is one of the most iconic and popular figures in the game and we thank and acknowledge those who are looking after him.”