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March 18, 2008
Bill Brown, who has died aged 95, epitomised the Australian cricket ethos and was an invaluable role model for the younger generations of Test cricketers, according to Steve Waugh. It was during the Waugh era that Australia's players embraced the team's history and Brown was called on to present baggy green caps to modern stars Adam Gilchrist and Michael Hussey.
"I reckon that if one person could have their picture beside the baggy green cap to illustrate what it stood for, it should be Bill," Waugh told the Courier-Mail. "Bill was the man who my generation really looked up to. I say that all the time at corporate functions.
"For us he was the embodiment of everything great about the baggy green cap. He had everything - strength, great ethics, character and wonderful stories from the past and yet still had great respect for the modern game.
"The remarkable thing about him was he was so sharp. You never had to repeat anything. Nothing got past him. You felt as if you were talking to a 30-year-old. He was always putting himself down. He used to say his best shot was a leg glance and that he was just the guy who used to bat at the other end [to champions like Don Bradman]."
Gilchrist said cricketers of the past decade adored Brown's willingness to keep up with the game and appreciate the newer generation of Australian Test representatives. "He was just so respectful of the modern players," Gilchrist said. "You never heard Bill complaining about modern bat weights or covered wickets."
Sam Loxton, who is now one of only four surviving members of the 1948 Invincibles touring squad, said Brown was a good friend. "Bill was a great fellow and a terrific player," Loxton said. "He was always fun to be with."
Creagh O'Connor, the chairman of Cricket Australia, said Brown would be remembered as a first-rate batsman of the 1930s and 1940s. "Bill was a fine cricketer, good enough to carry his bat while making a double century at Lord's," O'Connor said. "But those of us who had the good fortune to meet and know him in more recent years will also remember him with great affection as an impish wit and good-humoured servant of the game, always ready to lend his assistance."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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