Former New Zealand batsman Bill Playle passed away in New South Wales, Australia at the age of 80. Born 1 December 1938 in Manawatu, New Zealand, Playle represented his country in 8 Tests between 1958 and 1963. In addition, he also played 85 First-Class games.
Playle began his first-class career started with Auckland in 1956–57 at the age of 18. He scored 355 runs in 13 matches across two seasons which paved the way for his international debut. He was selected to tour England in 1958 as a 19-year-old. However, it was a tour to forget for him as he managed to score just 56 runs in five Tests. He, however, managed to hog a limelight with his fighting display in the second innings of the third Test at Leeds. In an attempt to avoid defeat, he batted for three and a quarter hours while scoring just 18.
He enjoyed a breakthrough season in 1961-62, finishing the season as the top-scorer. Bill Playle scored 510 runs at an impressive average of 72.85 including 116 not out against Otago. In his last Test series, he played the last three games as an opener. However, he fared poorly again as he scored above 25 just once in his career. His highest-score of 65 came in his last series during the Wellington Test.
After the 1963–64 season in New Zealand he moved to Australia, where he played as an opening batsman for Western Australia from 1965–66 to 1967–68, making his highest first-class score of 122 against Queensland and 116 against Victoria, both in 1965–66, when he made 583 runs at 41.64 in the Sheffield Shield.
In 8 Tests, Bill Playle amassed 151 runs at a modest average of 10.06. His record in first-class cricket was slightly better where he scored 2,888 runs in 85 games. He also scored 4 centuries and 9 fifties in his first-class career that spanned from 1956 to 1967.