Cricket Australia has paid tribute to former Australian cricketer Bruce Yardley, who passed away aged 71.
Yardley started his first class career in the 1966/67 as a medium-pace bowler for Western Australia, later turning to off-spin, a move that earned him 33 Test caps and seven one-day-international matches for Australia.
Debuting in 1978, Yardley took 126 Test wickets at 31.63, averaging 19.56 with the bat. Yardley also had a decorated First-Class career for Western Australia with 344 wickets at 28.19 and 2,738 runs at an average of 20.58.
Cricket didn’t end on the field for Yardley, remaining involved in the media and coaching, notably as head coach of Sri Lanka from 1997-1998.
Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts said:
“Bruce was a significant figure in Australian cricket, contributing in many ways on and off the field.”
“As a player, it took him more than ten years of persistence playing First-Class and Premier cricket to find the art of off-spin, earning him a Test debut at the age of 30.
“Bruce’s bowling dominates his career highlights with 126 Test wickets, holding the mantle as Australia’s most successful Test off-spinner before being surpassed by Nathan Lyon.
“He was also an excellent fielder and handy batter, holding the record for the quickest Test fifty for 38 years.
“Off the field, Bruce had an infectious personality and was regarded as one of the best spin-bowing coaches in the world, coaching Sri Lanka and mentoring the greatest Test wicket-taker of all time, Muttiah Muralitharan.
“On behalf of the Board and staff at Cricket Australia, we acknowledge Bruce’s outstanding contribution to Australian cricket, and our thoughts are with his family, friends and many of those in the cricketing community who knew him.”