Australian spin bowling great Ashley Mallett has died at age 76 after battling cancer.

Key points:

  • Mallet played 38 Tests for Australia, taking 132 wickets
  • The off-spinner took 8-59 against Pakistan in 1972, his best single innings Test figures
  • He died at age 76 after a battle with cancer

Mallett played 38 Tests from his debut against England in 1968 and took 132 wickets at an average of 29.84, also finishing his Test career against England in 1980.

Quietly-spoken Mallett, nicknamed Rowdy, is behind only Nathan Lyon (399 wickets) and Hugh Trumble (141) as Australia’s most successful Test off spinners.

Mallett’s 8-59 against Pakistan in 1972 is the eighth-best bowling performance by an Australian in a Test innings.

He earned the ironic nickname Rowdy due to his quietly-spoken nature.

Mallett rocketed to fame during his second overseas tour for Australia as Bill Lawry’s team secured a 3-1 series victory over India.

During that series, Mallett snared 28 wickets at an average of 19.1, including a haul of 10 wickets in the fifth and final Test.

Mallett started his career in WA, but with spinners Tony Lock and Tony Mann ahead of him in the pecking order, he made the switch to South Australia.

The move proved to be an excellent decision, with Mallett flourishing in a first-class career that would eventually span 183 matches.

Mallett scored a legion of fans after his playing career finished, through his writing.

He was active in that sense up until recently, co-authoring Neil Harvey’s biography The Last Invincible, which was released in June.

Mallett passed away on Friday in Adelaide.


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