Former test spinner Bob Holland dead at 70

SYDNEY (AP) Former test leg spinner Bob Holland, who was the third-oldest player to be picked for Australia when he made his debut aged 38, has died aged 70.

Holland’s son Craig told reporters on Sunday his father had died from brain cancer, which was diagnosed in March.

Holland attended a function in his honor on Friday, hosted by former test captain Mark Taylor. He died two days later, surrounded by family.

Craig Holland said ”he had the best time of his life on Friday where he spent time with a lot of his mates at his dinner. He showed no pain on the night and stayed till the end of the show.”

Holland made his first class debut for New South Wales at 32 and his test debut six years later, playing 11 tests and taking 34 wickets.

He was the oldest man to make his test debut for Australia since Don Blackie and Bert Ironmonger were selected in 1928 aged 46.

Holland played his first test against the West Indies at Brisbane’s Gabba ground in 1984 and was best known for his 10-wicket haul at the Sydney Cricket Ground during that series.

Holland took 10-144 to bowl Australia to an innings victory against an exalted West Indies team which had not been beaten in 28 previous tests and which included players such as Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, Desmond Haynes, Gordon Greenidge, Richie Richardson, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Joel Garner.

He also took 10 wickets – 10-174 – against New Zealand at the SCG and 5-86 during England’s second innings at Lord’s in the 1985 Ashes, guiding Australia to its only win of that series.

”There was no doubt he was one of the game’s great gentlemen,” Mark Taylor told Sky Sports Radio. ”But he was also a competitor. Loved to bowl, loved to take on a batsman.”

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said ”Bob’s cricketing journey was a remarkable one.

”On the field, Bob contributed much to his state, New South Wales, and showed great skill and determination when representing his country. But Bob’s contribution to our great game extended well beyond his on-field feats. Bob had an enormous impact on the game in the Newcastle region of New South Wales.”