Former Australian 'mystery' spinner John Gleeson passes away aged 78

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Melbourne, Oct 8: Former Australian Test cricketer John Gleeson passed away aged 78 on Friday (October 7), Cricket Australia (CA) announced on Saturday.

Spinner Gleeson played 29 Tests for Australia between 1967 and 1972, and made his debut for New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield on the state's western tour of 1966-67.

The NSW side was captained by Brian Booth, a former Test captain. Gleeson batted at number eight. He delivered 23 overs in two innings for one wicket.

In the 1966-67 season, he took four wickets in five balls, including a hat-trick, in a Sydney grade game, before taking 5-28 against Victoria. He was subsequently selected in an Australian second XI team to tour New Zealand at the end of the year.

Gleeson debuted for Australia in the 1967-68 Test series against India in the First Test at Adelaide Oval, taking 2-36 and 2-38. His national career saw him take a total of 98 wickets at an average of 36.20.

Gleeson played for NSW throughout the 1972-73 domestic season without any major success. His first class career came to an end at the SCG against Victoria on 2 January 1973, his 116th first class match. He had taken 430 wickets at an average of only 24.95.

CA CEO, James Sutherland said: "John captured the imagination of cricket fans everywhere as he bamboozled batsmen with his odd bowling grip, borrowed from another mystery Australian spinner, Jack Iverson."

"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.

"John is one of a long list of Test cricketers to originate from country New South Wales. As a cricketer, 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."

"On behalf of everyone at Cricket Australia, I'd like to offer our condolences to John's wife Sandra, his immediate family, friends and all those in cricket who have crossed paths with John."

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