Off-spinner Mallett, later an author and journalist

Australian cricket is mourning the deaths of Test greats Alan Davidson and Ashley Mallet.

All-rounder Davidson died on Saturday at the age of 92.

Off-spinner Mallett, later an author and journalist, died from cancer on Friday aged 76.

Davidson, a left-arm fast bowler and lower-order batter, was regarded as “one of cricket’s finest players and most influential and beloved figures”, Cricket Australia said.

Davidson, who made his Test debut on the 1953 Ashes tour, went on to play 44 Tests, taking 186 wickets with best figures of 7-93 and was widely regarded as the world’s best left-arm fast bowler of his day.

He also scored 1,328 runs at an average of 24.59, including five half-centuries.

After retirement, he spent 33 years as president of Cricket New South Wales as well as 20 years as a trustee of the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein said: “Alan was a colossal figure in our game. Not only as one of the finest players to have represented Australia, but for the positive influence he exerted across the game as an administrator, mentor and benefactor.”

Mallett, who played 38 Tests between 1968 and 1980, took 132 wickets and is behind only Nathan Lyon (399) and Hugh Trumble (141) on Australia’s list of most successful Test off-spinners.

Nicknamed ‘Rowdy’, he still holds the best figures for an off-spinner in Australia with 8-59 against Pakistan in 1972, but is best remembered for his achievements in India on the 1969-70 tour, where he took 28 wickets.

Following his retirement from cricket, Mallett set up the Spin Australia programme and the Spin Academy in Sri Lanka. He also wrote numerous books, including the biography of another Australian great Victor Trumper.

Freudenstein added: “Ashley Mallett was a wonderful player, admired journalist and highly acclaimed author.

“He played a significant part in Australian cricket not only as a player but as a prolific storyteller who has preserved the memories of some of the game’s greatest moments in time.”

 

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