The 71-year-old Australian Test cricketer died at Kununurra hospital this morning after a long battle with cancer.

Yardley was a gregarious character who was affectionately known to his teammates as “Roo” and played for more than two decades for Western Australia.

The former right-arm off-break spinner played an integral part in WA’s Sheffield Shield success, playing in the 1974-75, 1976-77, 1977-78 and 1980-81 championship teams.

A veteran of 33 Test matches, Yardley took 126 wickets in a Test career spanning six years from 1978 and in 1981-82 was named International Cricketer of the Year.

He scored four Test half-centuries with a top score of 74 and held the record for Australia's quickest half-century for 38 years after reaching the milestone from 29 balls against the West Indies in 1978.

WACA Chief Executive Christina Matthews said;

“It’s really sad news to hear about Bruce, he was a brilliant cricketer for both WA and Australia and gave a lot back to the game after his playing years.

“He coached Premier Cricket at Midland-Guildford and spent time in Bunbury coaching a number of young WA players including current Western Fury captain Chloe Piparo.

“Bruce was man always full of fun, laughter and made people around him happy, and on behalf of everyone at the WACA and the WA cricket community we send our deepest sympathy to the Yardley family."

Former teammate and WA assistant coach Geoff Marsh said he was a great character to have in the team.

“I was only very young when he was playing but he was always one of those guys who had the ability to settle everyone down in the changeroom in a pressure situation.

“He was very funny man, he had a real passion for the game of cricket, a real love for cricket… I can’t speak highly enough of the guy."

Bruce Yardley was selected in Western Australia’s Centenary XI in 1985 and later in Western Australia’s Team of the Century.

He was made a WACA Life Member in 2004 and 2012 was inducted into Western Australia’s Cricket Gallery of Greats.