Thursday, 9 December 2010

Richard "Richie" Benaud.


Richie Benaud (1930 -   )
Richie Benaud is a former Australian cricketer   who, since his retirement from the game in 1964, has become a highly regarded commentator on   the game.

Although an honorable mention must go to the extraordinary Brian "Johnners" Johnston, his English commentating counterpart who passed away in 1994, Richie has consistently been my personal favourite accompaniment to the brilliant game. He possesses an unmistakable voice, a mellow and authoritative manner, a dry wit, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things cricket.

Most people under the age of 60 will be unfamiliar with him as a younger man.

He seems to have always had hair of grey-ish white and suit of beige-ish beige...

As captain of Australia (for 28 tests) he only lost 4 times, regaining the Ashes in 1958-59 and then managing to defend them twice. His presence summoned the best from his players: cool but communicative, he impressed as one to whom no event was unexpected and no contingency unplanned for.

Benaud enjoyed an illustrious playing career as an inventive leg spinner and aggressive batsman, which yielded 248 test wickets and 2201 runs from 63 tests - indeed, he was the first player to complete the Test double of 200 wickets and 2000 runs.

He then moved seamlessly into the commentary box, where his wry observations, great intelligence, high levels of preparation, and, crucially, his ability to think before speaking, made him a flawless broadcaster.

Below he gives his opinion on the infamous 1981 underarm bowling incident (where Australia rolled the ball along the deck to prevent New Zealand scoring a six of the final ball...)

A guru to Ian Chappell and Shane Warne among others, he is perhaps the most influential cricketer/cricketing personality since the 2nd World War.

Mike Norrish of The Telegraph is also a fan:

"There was - is - a warmth to Benaud that cannot really be described to those who didn't grow up spending summer days watching cricket on the sofa.

It's partly the humour - Benaud has impeccable comic timing and is the master of the understatement - and it's partly the gentleness and civility - who else could make 'Morning Everyone' a catchphrase?

Personally, I love the fact that Benaud - almost uniquely for such a decorated sportsman - doesn't cling to the past. Everything wasn't better in his day. He just loves great cricket and great cricketers - wherever and whenever he sees them."


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