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January 16, 2005
Richie Benaud has rated the current Australian team as the equal of Don Bradman's famous 1948 "Invincibles" touring team.
Benaud, the former Australian captain turned legendary TV commentator, was giving the third Sir Donald Bradman Oration in Hobart last night. "I don't think there could be a better side than the Invincibles," he said, before admitting that Ricky Ponting's side, bolstered by Shane Warne - "the greatest legspinner ever seen" - and containing other exciting players like Adam Gilchrist, could be an equivalent.
Benaud said that Bradman had an acute mind, and the greatest clarity of thought he had ever seen. He was also ahead of his time: The Don supported one-day cricket, especially the way it encouraged brighter, quicker cricket.
But Benaud also rated Ponting's captaincy highly, especially after the win in the 2003 World Cup, and the more recent Test successes - particularly the 3-0 success in Sri Lanka last year, in a series in which Australia conceded a first-innings lead in each match.
Benaud was the third Sir Donald Bradman Orator, after John Howard, Australia's Prime Minister, in 2000, and the broadcaster Michael Parkinson in 2003. The Oration commemorates the name of the game's greatest player, and celebrates the values, history and tradition of cricket as part of the Australian way of life.
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