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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Richie Benaud ~the leggie, the commentator is no more !!!

We have not seen him play but have heard him speak the nuances – he was there right on top alonsgside names like   Alan Mcgivlary, Brian Johnston, John Arlott, Henry Bloefeld, Christopher Martin Jenkins..........  Not coming to office and ‘working from home’ is a concept popular in some, especially IT & ITES sector.   When India toured Australia in end 2014, this man who had retired 50 years back was requested to ‘work or rather speak from home’.

He is a famous Cricketer ..... his bowling reached a new level on the return leg of Australia's overseas tour, when they stopped in the Indian subcontinent in 1956-57 en route back to Australia. In a one-off Test against Pakistan in Karachi, he scored 56 and took 1/36 as Australia fell to defeat. He claimed his Test innings best of 7/72 in the first innings of the First Test in Madras, allowing Australia to build a large lead and win by an innings. It was his first five-wicket haul in a Test innings. After taking four wickets in the drawn Second Test in Bombay, he bowled Australia to victory in the Third Test in Calcutta, sealing the series 2-0. He took 6/52 and 5/53, his best-ever match analysis, ending the series with 113 runs at 18.83 and 24 wickets at 17.66.  He captained that 1961 tour (remember the 1st tied Test) .......

After the 1956 England tour, he stayed behind in London to take a BBC presenter training course. He took up a journalism position with the News of the World, beginning as a police roundsman before becoming a sports columnist. In 1960 he made his first radio commentary in the United Kingdom at the BBC, after which he moved into television. After retiring from playing in 1964, he turned to full-time cricket journalism and commentary, dividing his time between Britain (where he worked for the BBC for many years before joining Channel 4 in 1999), and Australia (for the Nine Network).  The idea for what became his trademark, wearing a cream jacket during live commentary, came from Channel 9 owner Kerry Packer, who suggested the look to help him stand out from the rest of the commentary team.

The man is Richie Benaud whose popularity is comparable to Sir Don Bradman.  He played in 63 tests scored 2201 runs and took 249 test wickets.  Benaud blended thoughtful leg spin bowling with lower-order batting aggression. Along with fellow bowling all-rounder Alan Davidson, he helped restore Australia to the top of world cricket in the late 1950s and early 1960s – and captained Aussies from 1958 to 1964.   

Richie Benaud is no more; He was 84 and had fought a long battle with skin cancer and had also suffered from the after-effects of a serious car accident near his Coogee home in late 2013.  -  In Benaud’s native Sydney, NSW Premier Mike Baird ordered flags be flown at half-mast today as a tribute. Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Australia had lost “a legend of cricket and the voice of our summers.  He was, in all aspects, a pioneer of the modern game and one of its most influential participants.
Benaud was at the helm as the ABC began to broadcast the last hours of Test matches into Melbourne and Sydney over the following years and was always keen on the meeting of his two interests. When Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket challenged the status quo it did so with the former captain as its anchor. When the war ended Benaud had established himself as the pre-eminent television presence.  An author of many books and a regular newspaper columnist, Benaud could say much in a simple sentence. Often a critic of bumbling boards, he wrote once that: “the ECB showed no qualities other than an extraordinary lack of common sense” during a controversy over ball tampering. Benaud loved the game and it loved him.
Benaud was born in Penrith, Sydney, in 1930 and introduced to the game by his father Lou, a schoolteacher and leg spin bowler who once took 20 wickets in a match for the Penrith Waratahs.  As captain Benaud started a tradition of team only dinners, encouraged his sides to attack and attracted criticism for his jubilant celebrations of wickets that often included hugging a successful bowler.  Benaud was named Wisden cricketer of year and awarded an OBE by the Queen for his efforts. He is survived by his second wife Daphne and has two sons from an earlier marriage.
Cricket lovers fear that to maintain the high standards of analysis and comment that he has set would be difficult to match and there would a void in that role.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
10th Apr 2015.

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