Australian cricket in mourning after death of legendary Laurie Sawle

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Former Chairman of Cricket Australia Jack Clarke, pictured here presenting the ICC Volunteer Recognition medal to Laurie Sawle in 2009.
Former Chairman of Cricket Australia Jack Clarke presents the ICC Volunteer Recognition medal to Laurie Sawle in 2009. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

The Australian cricket community is mourning the death of former West Australian player and long-time national selector Laurie Sawle.

The former chairman of selectors for the Australian side died on Tuesday at age 96.

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Sawle was a national selector for 13 years between 1982 and 1995 - serving as chairman of selectors for 11 of those years.

After playing 35 first-class games as an opening batter for Western Australia between 1954 and 1961, Sawle transitioned to WA state selector in 1962.

WA won six Sheffield Shield titles in the 18 years that Sawle served as a selector, before he then became a member of Australia’s national selection panel.

Former Australian cricket selectors Laurie Sawle, Dick Guy, Jim Higgs and Greg Chappell, pictured here in 1985.
Former Australian cricket selectors Laurie Sawle, Dick Guy, Jim Higgs and Greg Chappell in 1985. (Photo by Trevor James Robert Dallen/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).

Sawle is widely credited as having a massive influence on the successful era of Australian cricket during his time as selector, most notably the side's breakthrough Ashes triumph in England in 1989.

He was credited with individually selecting and rearranging the side's batting order that helped the Aussies win the series 4-0.

He helped recruit Bob Simpson as national coach in 1986 and played a part in the selections of some of Australia's greatest-ever cricketers - including Steve and Mark Waugh, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Mark Taylor and Ian Healy.

He also helped develop Australia's Under-19 programs and the Australian cricket academy in the late 1980s and 90s.

National selectors Laurie Sawle, Greg Chappell and Rick McCosker, pictured here at the SCG in 1984.
National selectors Laurie Sawle, Greg Chappell and Rick McCosker at the SCG in 1984. (Photo by Julian Kevin Zakaras/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).

Cricket world mourns death of Laurie Sawle

His contributions to West Australian cricket, including a long tenure on the WACA Board, saw the state's highest individual men's award named in his honour.

"Laurie Sawle was enormous to the fabric of cricket in Western Australia for decades," WA Cricket CEO Christina Matthews said in a statement on Tuesday.

"He was an incredibly talented and devoted administrator who was prepared to back himself and others in, and his passion for cricket never waned.

"Even years after his retirement, we’d regularly see him at the WACA Ground cheering WA on.

"The fact our highest individual men’s award is named after him speaks volumes about the type of character he was, and the legacy he left.

"We were incredibly lucky to have him, and remain grateful for everything he achieved.

"The WA Cricket community sends its thoughts to his three children Maryanne, Carmel and Mark and close friends in this difficult time."

Sawle made his first-class debut for Western Australia at the age of 29, scoring 1701 runs at an average of 28.83, including one century.

He was awarded the Order of Australia in 1992 for his services to cricket administration and was awarded the ICC Volunteer Recognition medal in 2009.

Tributes have been flowing in for Sawle on social media.

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