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Richie Benaud: Australia cricket legend & commentator dies at 84

Former Australia captain and legendary cricket commentator Richie Benaud has died at the age of 84.

A pioneering leg-spin bowler, Benaud played in 63 Tests, 28 as captain, before retiring in 1964 to pursue a career in journalism and broadcasting.

His final commentary in England came during the 2005 Ashes series, but he continued to work for Channel Nine in Australia until 2013.

In November, he revealed he was being treated for skin cancer.

Some famous Benaud one-liners:

"Morning everyone"

"It's gone into the confectionery stall and out again"

"And Glenn McGrath dismissed for two, just ninety-eight runs short of his century"

Benaud took 945 wickets in 259 first-class matches and made 11,719 first-class runs, scoring 23 centuries at an average of 36.50.

But he perhaps became best known as a commentator, enjoying a long association with the BBC following his first radio appearance for the corporation in 1960.

Tributes have been pouring in from around the world following the news of Benaud's death.

Shane Warne, Australia's record wicket-taker, made a particularlyheartfelt contribution.

"Dear Richie, you were a legend on all levels and rightly so too," said Warne. "As a cricketer, commentator and as a person, you were the best there's ever been and, to top it off, an absolute gentleman."

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The Australia government has offered to hold a state funeral for Richie Benaud

Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards said Benaud was "the iconic voice of our summer", while the Australian government has offered to hold a state funeral.

Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Benaud's passing was "a sad day for Australia", adding: "We have lost a cricketing champion and Australian icon. What an innings. RIP Richie Benaud."

Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott said: "Farewell Richie Benaud. Wonderful cricketer, great captain, a master craftsman commentator and top man. Will always be remembered and admired."

Sri Lanka wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara added: "So sad to hear about the passing of Richie Benaud. The great voice of cricket is no more. He defined an era with conviction and sincerity."

England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke said cricket had "lost perhaps its greatest advocate and someone who was a true giant of the modern game".

Benaud was the first man to achieve 2,000 runs and 200 wickets at Test level. He was also a highly regarded tactician and never lost a Test series as Australia captain, winning five and drawing two.

After such an impressive playing career, he became even better known as a prolific author, columnist and commentator on cricket.

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Richie Benaud's appearance was affectionately parodied at Australian grounds

After the 1956 Ashes tour in England, he completed a BBC training course while still a player, marking the beginning of a 40-year association with the corporation.

His first BBC radio commentary came in 1960, followed by his first television appearance three years later.

With his mellifluous, light delivery, enthusiastically imitated by comedians and cricket fans alike, Benaud also became the lead commentator on Australian television's Channel Nine from 1977.

At the age of 83, he crushed two vertebrae when his 1963 Sunbeam vintage sports car hit a brick wall near his home in Coogee, Sydney.

Richie Benaud milestones:

January 1952: Test debut against West Indies at Sydney Cricket Ground

January 1952: First of 248 Test wickets and 2,201 Test runs

December 1958: First Test as Australia captain, v England at Brisbane

Summer 1960: First radio commentary for BBC

December 1963: In his 60th Test, the first to 2,000 Test runs & 200 wickets

Summer 1963: First television commentary for BBC

February 1964: Final Test against South Africa at Sydney Cricket Ground

September 2005: Final commentary in England after 42 years

Benaud often spoke of a return to commentary but, to the great sadness of his legions of admirers, it did not materialise.

Benaud, who was appointed OBE in 1961 for services to cricket, leaves a wife of 48 years, Daphne, and two children from his first marriage.

 

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"McGrath dismissed for two, just ninety-eight runs short of his century".

 

RIP Richie Benaud, the voice of cricket, and truly the greatest ever cricket commentator. HIs skill was knowing when to speak and when to stay silent

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I'm not really into cricket or rugby, but there was something special about the commentary of Benaud and Bill McLaren, then of course you had the likes of David Coleman and Barry Davies who were in a league of their own, Davies at football, Coleman at just about everything. Not really sure people will back at Clive Tyldsley, Andy Townsend and anyone from Sky with the same kind of fondness, like.

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"McGrath dismissed for two, just ninety-eight runs short of his century".

 

RIP Richie Benaud, the voice of cricket, and truly the greatest ever cricket commentator. HIs skill was knowing when to speak and when to stay silent

Think that's true of all the great commentators. Silence is to be avoided at all costs these days even if they've nothing worthwile to say.

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Even before he died the highly respected cricket writer Gideon Haigh described him as "perhaps the most influential cricketer and cricket personality since the Second World War." And I think you could say the 'perhaps' is as understated as the great man was. Also, as Jonathan Agnew pointed out, he was never one to hark back too much and go on about how much better cricket was in his day, unlike a lot of his peers in the commentary box. He always embraced new developments in the game which is why he always remained so relevant.

I sincerely hope he enjoyed Australia's fabulous World Cup victory a lot more than I did ;)

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Probably the most well respected person in cricket.

 

Of all the hours in my life spent watching TV, I'd guess I've listened to Richie Benaud commentate on the cricket more than anything else.

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