Benaud keeps the beige dream alive
Richie Benaud might be retiring from ball-by-ball commentary at the end of the summer but he won't be leaving Nine's cricket coverage. Benaud, 79, signed a three-year deal last week and his downgraded commitments will include analysis and guest spots.
"I won't be doing live commentary,'' Benaud told the Sunday Telegraph. "Someone asked me: 'Does that mean you'll never again go into the commentary box?' Well, the answer to that is if there is, as there always can be, some emergency or a sensational happening, on or off the field, - where it would be quite ridiculous not to go into the commentary box - of course I'll be in there doing my job and doing it as professionally as I can. But I won't be on the live commentary roster.''
Benaud, who took 248 wickets in 63 Tests, stepped down from his full-time broadcast duties in England in 2005 and finished with News of the World at the end of the Ashes series in August. He has continued being a large part of the coverage back home and Steve Crawley, Nine's head of sport, said Benaud was "an icon of Australian television".
"He is a wise man and we're not silly enough not to continue taking his advice," he said. "With him retiring as a cricket commentator, that's one thing. But you don't retire from family.''
Benaud also said Michael Clarke would do a good job as captain of Australia - as long as he can solve his back problem - and he is sure Brett Lee will continue to do well. "He's made his comeback," Benaud said. "He's determined to get back in the Test side.
"Some people if they get an injury like that, they'll give it a wave of the hand and they can't be bothered getting fit. There are others like Dennis Lillee, who fought his way back through severe injury to play for Australia again. Brett Lee has done the same thing again - he has put Australian cricket ahead of himself and I hope he does well and I'm sure he will.''