April 24, 2003

Tribute to Guille Kirschbaum

Argentine Cricket Association

The Argentine Cricket Association and the entire cricket community of Argentina has been deeply shocked and saddened by the suden death of the current captain of the Argentine national cricket team, Guillermo Kirschbaum. Kirschbaum, who was 35, died of complications caused from a severe asthma attack during the early hours of the morning of Sunday, 13 April, 2003.

"Guille", as he was known to friends, compatriots and team-mates alike, was an immensely popular figure, not just on the cricket fields of Argentina, but in every sphere of life, as well as to many cricketers around the world who competed against him over the years.

An inspirational leader, he was captain of his club, Belgrano, as well as various representative teams, including both North and South XI's, and his country, Argentina, for many years. He first made his mark as a cricket captain when he led a young Argentina Colts XI to a memorable victory over Paul Parker's MCC tourists of 1990. In all, Kirschbaum represented Argentina in over 80 matches, official and unofficial, and was captain on more than 50 occasions. He captained Argentina in their last official international tournament, the Americas Cricket Championships, in Buenos Aires in 2002.

He represented Argentina at cricket for over a decade, and was an immensely proud and patriotic cricketer for his country. He represented Argentina at four successive ICC Trophy tournaments, in Holland (1990), Kenya (1994), Malaysia (1997) and Canada (2001). He was team captain for the 1997 and 2001 events, also having captained one game in Holland in 1990. He is Argentina's highest run-scorer in the ICC Trophy, with 511 runs at an average of 21,29. His 26 appearances at the ICC Trophy is also the most for any Argentine player. He was captain on 13 of these 26 occasions, leading Argentina to victory 5 times. In fact, Kirschbaum played in each of Argentina's 8 recorded victories in ICC Trophy history.

An extra-ordinarily gifted and aggressive batsman, he often played match-winning innings in flamboyant and confident style, and was also an above-average fielder renowned for his agility and reflexes, taking 11 catches in 26 ICC Trophy matches. It is fitting, in what turned out to be his last appearance for Argentina abroad, and at an ICC Trophy, that he led Argentina to probably the country's greatest cricket victory, over Malaysia in Toronto, Canada, in 2001, where his brilliant innings of 34 not out, off only 18 balls, led Argentina to a remarkable victory. A mark of his skill was that this innings contained only 2 fours and 1 six, and he accumulated 20 runs in 15 balls without boundaries. In this tournament, where Argentina's four wins out of five ranks as easily the best performance by an Argentine team in international competition ever, a major contribution to this success was Kirschbaum's astute captaincy, and coming in at number five, 144 runs at an average of 36.

Guille's sudden and untimely passing has stunned the entire Argentine cricket community, and will leave a void that will perhaps forever remain properly unfilled. He will be sadly and profoundly missed, fondly remembered, and forever held dear in the memories of all those who had the good fortune of knowing him.

Our thoughts, and deepest sympathies, are with his family and friends.