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The Australian cricketer fighting for his life in the UK


Former Australian wicket-keeper Ryan Campbell, the renowned under-study of Adam Gilchrist, is fighting for his life after a heart attack over the weekend.

Former Australian cricketer Ryan Campbell was a confident, aggressive, explosive keeper-batsman.

The 50-year-old was born in Perth and was Western Australia’s long-term gloveman.

Campbell began his career as the wicket-keeping replacement for Adam Gilchrist, but soon managed to establish himself as a specialist batsman.

In an incredible achievement during the 1996-97 season, Campbell recorded the fastest 50 and also century in the course of an Australian first-class season. 

After years of toiling away for Western Australia, Campbell played two one-day internationals for Australia in 2002, when Adam Gilchrist was absent to spend time with his newborn son.

Campbell was a ‘victim’ of Australia’s golden era of the late-90s and early 2000s, overshadowed by the likes of Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Ricky Ponting, plus many more.

He carved out a solid 98-game, first class career between 1994 and 2006, establishing himself as a star for the Warriors.

Ryan Campbell in one of his ODI games.

In total, Campbell scored 6009 runs for his state at an average of 36.41. 

One of the highlights was a 108 off only 85 balls that laid the platform for his team’s dramatic win over Queensland in the 1999-2000 Mercantile Mutual Cup final. 

During the same summer, Campbell posted his top score of 203 against Queensland, before enduring a tough recovery from knee surgery in 2001.

As he regained fitness, the talented Luke Ronchi entered the scene, adding a large complexity to WA’s keeper ranks. The rising star took over from Campbell full-time in January 2006.

The Perth local would end his career placed ninth on the Sheffield Shield’s list of Western Australian run-scorers, plus fourth on the wicket-keeping dismissals tally with 242. 

Remarkably at the age of 44, Campbell played for Hong Kong during the 2016 Twenty20 World Cup.

With a Chinese grandmother, and having settled in Hong Kong with his family, his T20I debut came 14 years after his last ODI appearance.

Since April 2017, Campbell has coached the Netherlands men’s cricket team and was in London visiting the mother of his wife, Leontina Campbell, with their two kids for Easter at the time of his heart attack.

Picture of Joel Martelli
Joel Martelli
The only thing that Joel Martelli loves more than football (seriously, we wouldn't be surprised if he has a Wollongong Wolves tattoo) is writing about all things sports. With a Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies Degree specialising in Journalism, he spends his days uncovering breaking athlete news stories and diving deep into play-by-play strategies. We're glad that he's put his passion to the pages of Only Sports as one of our dedicated sports writers.

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