Rest in peace, Richie Benaud.
Former Australian captain, journalist and broadcaster Richie Benaud has passed away at the age of 84 in Sydney. Benaud had been fighting an arduous battle with skin cancer and was also recovering from a near-fatal car crash suffered in 2013.
Most cricket fans who grew up in the ’90s knew him more as a television host and one of the most powerful voices in the commentary box. But Benaud was much more than that. By the time of his retirement in 1964, the leg-spinner was Australia’s leading wicket-taker in Tests with 248 wickets. His captaincy saw the return of The Ashes to Australia after 7 years in 1958-59. Benaud would go on to become the voice of Channel Nine for the next 48 years of his life, dishing out commentary gems from behind the mike. He was also influential in the formation of Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket in 1977. Benaud last commentated on the final day of the 2005 Ashes in England, where the hosts sealed the series.
To honor the legendary Australian, we’ve put together some of his best commentary moments:
1. When he added humor to Glenn McGrath’s innings…
"And Glenn McGrath dismissed for two, just ninety-eight runs short of his century.”
2. When a streaker ran onto the field out of nowhere…
“There was a slight interruption there for athletics.”
3. When he gave his expert comment on the pull shot…
“He’s usually a good puller but he couldn’t get it up that time.”
4. On that six by Justin Langer…
“He’s not quite got hold of that one. If he had, it would have gone for nine.”
5. Of course, Shane Warne’s Ball of the Century to a dumbfounded Mike Gatting…
“Gatting has absolutely no idea what happened to it. (He) still doesn’t know.”
Benaud’s passing has left a gulf that will only grow wider with time. The word “marvelous” will be associated with the legend for years to come. No longer will the words “Welcome back to the MCG” resonate in our ears in the voice of our beloved Richie. Perhaps Benaud’s most emotionally touching piece of narration would be Channel Nine’s tribute to Phillip Hughes.
There couldn’t have been a better voice to pay tribute to one of Australia’s finest young talent.
Australian summers will never be the same without you, Richie!