ACA pays tribute to Max Walker

28 Sep 2016

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The ACA is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Max Walker AM, who succumbed to cancer on Wednesday, at the age of 68.

Tangles, a nickname derived from his unusual wrong-footed bowling action, played 34 Tests for Australia, picking up 138 wickets at an average of 27.47. His best moment on the Test arena came in the sixth Test of the 1974-75 Ashes series at his beloved MCG, where he claimed career-best figures of 8/143 in the second innings, securing Australia a comprehensive 4-1 series win. He was then amongst the breakaway group of players that formed Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket in 1977. Walker also played 17 ODIs, taking 20 wickets at 27.30.

An architect by trade, Walker worked as a maintenance man and scoreboard operator at the MCG, juggling both cricket and football, playing 85 matches for the Melbourne Football Club. He went on to represent Victoria in the Sheffield Shield and 50-over competition 88 times, closing out his domestic career with 323 wickets.

A larger than life character, Walker's post-playing career was just as colourful as his persona on the field, writing 14 books, which surpassed one million sold copies on the back of seven number-one sellers. Following his playing days he took to commentary, filling the airwaves with witty anecdotes and expert comments with the ABC, 2UE, 3AK, Channel 7 and Channel 9. He went on to become the loveable host of the Nine Network's The Sunday Footy Show and Wide World of Sports throughout the 1990s.

On 13 June 2011, Walker was named a Member of the Order of Australia for "service to cricket at a national and international level as a player and commentator, and to the community through a range of youth and social welfare organisations".

ACA President Greg Dyer said: "The entire Australian cricket fraternity will be mourning the loss of one of its greatest characters in Max Walker.

"Max was a ferocious competitor and one of the most popular guys in the game, putting a smile on so many people's faces with his presence alone. Although touted tangles, he will be remembered as an incredibly skilful bowler that left the game with a very impressive record. He will be sorely missed."

A 14-year member of the ACA, Walker was a vocal supporter of player rights.

ACA CEO Alistair said: "Max played a major part in changing the landscape of cricket forever when he signed up for World Series Cricket. He was also a great servant to the community through the various youth and social welfare work he did.

"Passionate about all things Melbourne, anyone I've spoken with from within the Melbourne Football Club and cricket circles couldn't speak highly enough of him.

"Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends at this difficult time."