John Rutherford, the first cricketer based in Western Australia to represent his country at Test level, has died aged 92.
Australian cricket pioneer John Rutherford has died aged 92.
Rutherford, the first Western Australian cricketer to represent his country, played a Test match in October 1956, scoring 30 and taking one wicket against India at Brabourne Stadium.
The foot batsman struck out Indian slugger Vijay Manjrekar for 30 in the second Draw Test match of Australia’s inaugural tour of India.
Rutherford, who became Australia’s 204th male cricket tester, will never represent his country again.
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The right-handed opening hitter had 3,367 runs at 31.76 in 67 first-class games, scoring six centuries and 15 half-centuries.
Rutherford’s career ended abruptly after suffering a stroke in Western Australia’s 1960 tour match against the West Indies aged 31 – it was ultimately his last premiership match class.
Western Australian cricketers were seen as unrelated to the national side at the time, with the state team playing half the number of Sheffield Shield games compared to their Eastern counterparts.
But in the 15 years since Rutherford’s Test debut, Western Australia has produced a number of the country’s most recognizable cricketing icons, including Graham McKenzie, Dennis Lillee and the late Rod Marsh.
After his retirement, Rutherford donned the Baggy Green as a regular guest of honor for an annual social cricket match played at Wedge Island near Lancelin.
“It made a colossal difference for me,” Rutherford said. ESPNcricinfo in 2015.
“As soon as I say I have a baggy green, people’s attention goes up. It has helped me a lot in many ways. And I was very lucky to get eight months with the Australian XI.
“How lucky was I really to be the first Western Australian to play Test cricket for Australia?”
WA Cricket chief executive Christina Matthews said in a statement: “John Rutherford played a huge role in putting WA Cricket on the map, at a time when the national team was dominated by players from the US states. East.
“He was a talkative and charismatic personality, and his passion for cricket was contagious.
“On behalf of everyone at WA Cricket and the state cricket community, we send our deepest condolences to the Rutherford family.”
Cricket Australia posted on Twitter: “We extend our condolences to the loved ones of John Rutherford – the man who laid the foundation for every @WACA_Cricket representative who has since worn a Baggy Green.”