Home > Features > Moments in history >

Geoff Marsh: The first player to win the World Cup as both cricketer and coach

The first player to win the World Cup as both cricketer and coach

Mark Taylor (left) and Geoff Marsh celebrate their stand of 329 for the first wicket in the 5th Ashes Test at Trent Bridge in August 1989 © Getty Images

Geoff Marsh, the opening batsman who formed an essential part of the resurgence of Australian cricketer in the 1980s, was born on December 31, 1958.Abhishek Mukherjee looks back at the first player to win the World Cup as both cricketer and coach.

If you had started watching cricket in the 2000s, you might not have been able to relate to Geoff Marsh. To begin with, he was not a great treat to watch; he was not your everyday flamboyant strokeplayer. His Test record of 2,854 runs from 50 Tests at 33.18 does not make great reading.

However, Marsh was important. Playing for Western Australia, he had learnt cricket the hard way, and had trained himself to put a significant price tag on his wicket. When the simultaneous retirements of Greg Chappell, Dennis Lillee and Rodney Marsh meant that Australian cricket had to pass through the famine of good cricketers in the mid-1980s, Marsh was one of the cricketers who led the resurgence. Indeed, he added 1,980 runs with David Boon at the top in 47 innings at 45.00. When Mark Taylor came along, Boon shifted to No 3, and Marsh combined with Taylor to add 1,871 runs from 41 innings at 46.77.

Nothing exemplified his dour attitude more than his gutsy 138 at Trent Bridge in 1989 when Marsh and Taylor became the first pair to bat through an entire day on English soil; they ended the day at 301 without loss. They eventually went on to add 329, going past the Ashes record of 323 put up by Jack Hobbs and Wilfred Rhodes.

Marsh fared significantly better in One-Day Internationals (ODIs), scoring 4,357 runs from 117 matches at 39.97. He was instrumental in Australia’s successful World Cup campaign in 1987, scoring 110 against India and an unbeaten 126 against New Zealand. He often rose above his otherwise dogged style, scoring an aggressive 125 off 121 balls against Imran Khan and Wasim Akram, and handled the West Indies pace battery, scoring consecutive hundreds in the West Indies tour of 1990-91.

He ended his career in 1992. By the time he had quit, Australia had risen from the depths of the mid-1980s to challenge West Indies as the leading Test side in world cricket. However, Marsh’s job was far from over.

He took over from Bobby Simpson as coach of Australia in 1996. Though Australia had already taken over as the new Test champions after the unofficial world championship Test title in West Indies a couple of years back, their ODI performances were still not up to the desired mark.

The first player to win the World Cup as both cricketer and coach

Geoff Marsh (fifth from right) and David Boon (second from right) formed a formidable opening pair for Australia. Here they are seen at the presentation ceremony after the Benson & Hedges World Series Cup 2nd final match between Australia and India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on February 9, 1986 in Melbourne © Getty Images

Marsh’s tenure saw a significant rise of Australian cricket in both formats; the quintessential Ashes victories were there, but there were also wins against West Indies and a victory on Pakistan soil. However, he is mostly remembered for winning the 1999 World Cup. After early defeats against New Zealand and Pakistan, Australia made an unbelievable turnaround, going into a long streak of wins and ultimately raised the World Cup. The unbeaten trend continued for the next two World Cups as well.

After a brief stint as an Australian selector he was appointed as the coach of Zimbabwe in 2001, but quit in 2004. It is rumoured that he had quit because of the political circumstances. After that he continued to coach regional sides. He was appointed as the coach of Sri Lanka in September 2011, but after the dismal performance against South Africa he was sacked and replaced by Graham Ford in four months.

His sons, Shaun and Mitchell, have both gone on to represent Australia in various formats. They have both shown promise as budding cricketers, but they will not become characters as colourful as their father: Boon, his long-time roommate, had often reported that he used to wake up in the hotel room to find Marsh undergoing shadow practice in the nude! Or the fact that he disliked Boon’s reading so much that he had once shredded a novel Boon was reading. And then probably went on to form one of those partnerships on the field. Their camaraderie was never hampered by these off-field eccentricities.

No, they don’t make characters like that anymore.

(A hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobiac by his own admission, Abhishek Mukherjee is a statistical analyst based in Kolkata, India. He typically looks upon life as a journey involving two components – cricket and literature – not necessarily as disjoint elements. A passionate follower of the history of the game with an insatiable appetite for trivia and anecdotes, he has also a rather steady love affair with the incredible assortment of numbers the sport has to offer. He also thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks and googlies in street cricket, and blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in)

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Dambulla

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (08:50 IST)   at Sydney

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Chittagong

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

More

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Melbourne

Australia won by 3 wkts

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 20, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled(Match rescheduled to 21/11/2014)

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 19, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Photos

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra

Videos

SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

PCB’s biggest challenge is to bring back international cricket to Pakistan: Subhan Ahmad

Tim Southee’s 50 Test sixes and related records

India vs Australia 2014: India may have heavy dose of pace in store in 1st Test

Ross Taylor’s crucial knock against Pakistan will boost his sub-par subcontinent record

Stuart Binny — can the all-rounder be a trump card for India in ODIs?

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014

Colin Ingram joins Glamorgan under Kolpak ruling

Assad Fudadin replaces Darren Bravo in West Indies Test squad for South Africa tour

George Bailey does not expect Test recall for series against India

Kumar Sangakkara asked to review retirement plans: Reports

Brian Lara: West Indies have to handle issues well

World Cup 1979: Mike Hendrick blows Pakistan away

Shakib Al Hasan becomes 12th player to hit ODI century and take four wickets in same match

Narendra Modi and Tony Abbott take cricket diplomacy to a new level

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: Highest chases against New Zealand in Test matches

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: Pakistan’s biggest fourth innings chases

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat among the most unsecured mobile messaging apps out there

Microsoft Lumia 535 likely to launch in India on November 26

How many calories do bananas have?

Here’s how Gautam Rode injured himself on the sets of Mahakumbh – Watch video!

8 reasons to add rosemary to your diet

Kumkum Bhagya: Pragya walks out of the house after proving her innocence

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here