Australia’s ‘mystery’ spinner Gleeson dies aged 78

October 8, 2016 | By

Sydney: Australian cricketer John Gleeson, who mystified batsmen with his unique bent finger spin, has passed away aged 78, Cricket Australia said on Saturday.

Gleeson played 29 Tests between 1967 and 1972, and debuted for his country in the 1967–68 Test series against India in the First Test at the Adelaide Oval.

He captured 93 wickets in his Test career at an average of 36.20.

Gleeson used a unique “bent-finger” action using two fingers — a bent middle finger and the thumb pressing against the ball on both sides in an attempt to extract a new variety of bowling tricks.

“John captured the imagination of cricket fans everywhere as he bamboozled batsmen with his odd bowling grip, borrowed from another mystery 1950s Australian spinner, Jack Iverson,” Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said.

“We were deeply saddened to hear of John’s passing and are truly appreciative of his contribution to the game, which, beyond his distinguished playing career, included time as an administrator with World Series Cricket. 

“He will be remembered as someone who played for his country at the highest level and, with his unique skills, had the ability to regularly dumbfound the best batsmen in any team.”


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