Sawle played a significant role in shaping Australia’s great teams of the 1990s and 2000s, having been a national selector for 13 years between 1982 and 1995, acting as chairman for 11 of those years.
Sawle retired from playing in 1961 and applied to be a Western Australia selector in 1962, a role that he held until 1980. It was during this time that Western Australia won six Sheffield Shield titles, having won just one prior to that. Western Australia also won four 50-over titles in that period.
During Sawle’s time as Australia’s chairman of selectors, he served as the tour manager on the 1989 Ashes tour of England. He was credited with handpicking and rearranging the top six that secured a 4-0 series victory.
Sawle retired from the selection panel in 1995 but remained a devoted cricket watcher at the WACA until late in life. He was awarded the Order of Australia in 1992 for his services to cricket administration. He was awarded the ICC Volunteer Recognition medal in 2009. Sawle is also a member of WA cricket’s gallery of greats and WA cricket’s best male player each year is awarded the Laurie Sawle medal. WA cricket CEO Christina Matthews paid tribute to Sawle after his passing on Tuesday night.
“Laurie Sawle was enormous to the fabric of cricket in Western Australia for decades,” Matthews said.
“He was an incredibly talented and devoted administrator who was prepared to back himself and others in, and his passion for cricket never waned. Even years after his retirement, we’d regularly see him at the WACA Ground cheering WA on.
“The fact our highest individual men’s award is named after him speaks volumes about the type of character he was, and the legacy he left.
“We were incredibly lucky to have him, and remain grateful for everything he achieved.
“The WA Cricket community sends its thoughts to his three children Maryanne, Carmel and Mark and close friends in this difficult time.”