Friday, 10 April 2015

Richie Benaud

This is not the post I was intending to write today; that will have to wait. I have just heard of the death of Richie Benaud. These are just a few disconnected thoughts on hearing the sad news.

It is unfair to other great commentators like John Arlott, Brian Johnston and his Australian predecessor in the box, Jack Fingleton, to bill him as *the* voice of cricket, but he certainly was one of the best. As a former test captain his contributions were always insightful.

He should be remembered as one of the most successful all-rounders of world cricket and as one of the shrewdest captains. I particularly remember his turning round a probable defeat at Old Trafford in 1961 against a side led by Ted Dexter which was arguably better.

I trust that the obituaries will also mark his fight for the ordinary cricketer in Australia, who suffered from lack of financial support until Kerry Packer came along. He was particularly scornful of those with private incomes who expected those who had to work for a living to put in the same amount of time for cricket as they. Benaud himself worked for a Sydney daily and if I remember correctly it was not a sinecure.

Perhaps as a journalist he would have had a wry smile at the fact that his last illness was the skin cancer which has been so much in the news in the last week.

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