Cricket Australia has paid tribute to Ashley Mallett, one of Australia’s most successful off-spin bowlers, who has passed away aged 76 following a battle with cancer.
Born in Sydney but raised in Perth, Mallett was best known as a South Australia player after moving from the west to Adelaide to be tutored by the late great spin bowler Clarrie Grimmett. Mallett, also an acclaimed author and journalist, later wrote Grimmett’s autobiography.
Mallett played 38 Test matches and nine One Day Internationals in a career for Australia which spanned 12 years, taking 132 wickets with his rangy off-spin and 30 catches highlighting his outstanding gully fielding.
He holds the best figures for a finger spinner in Australia with 8-59 against Pakistan in Adelaide in 1972, but it was his efforts in India which were heralded as his greatest.
On the 1969-70 tour, Mallett took 28 wickets as a key to Australia’s last Test series win in India which formed a large part of him reaching 100 wickets in 23 Test matches.
Mallett also coached many young spin bowlers and set up the Spin Australia program, and the Spin Academy in Sri Lanka. He was a long-time advisor to Sri Lankan cricket.
Mallett went on to write numerous books including the biographies of Victor Trumper and Grimmett, along with Lords’ Dreaming which chronicled the English tour of the Australian Indigenous side who were the first Australian sporting team to tour overseas in 1868.
Richard Freudenstein, Cricket Australia Chair, said:
“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 and moments in time for people to enjoy through the ages.
“Ashley was a humble man whose deeds outweighed his reserved personality. He will be missed within the Australian cricketing landscape and we offer our sincerest condolences to his family, friends, colleagues across all industries and teammates.”