October 06, 1930, Penrith, New South Wales
April 10, 2015, Sydney, New South Wales, (aged 84y 186d)
Right hand Bat
Commentator, Journalist, Author
Few cricketers matured so gradually yet ripened so fruitfully as Richie Benaud. With little to show for his first six years in Test cricket, he blossomed as a fully fledged allrounder in South Africa in 1957-58, then flowered as a charismatic captain at home against England in 1958-59. He repossessed the Ashes, which his teams then successfully defended twice.
As a legspinner, he was full of baits and traps, and he batted and fielded with verve. His 71 wickets in India and Pakistan came in just 12 Tests, and at averages within hailing distance of each other either side of 20. Of his three Test hundreds, two came against South Africa in the one series, in 1957-58.
Yet it was his presence, as much as anything, that summoned the best from players: cool but communicative, he impressed as one to whom no event was unexpected, no contingency unplanned for.
The same applied to his journalism: terse, direct and commonsensical, and his broadcasting: mellow and authoritative. His wise head was sought by Kerry Packer ahead of World Series Cricket in 1977, conferring respectability on the breakaway professional circuit. A guru to Ian Chappell and Shane Warne among others, he was among the most influential cricketers and cricket personalities since the Second World War. That Benaud masks were among the more popular accessories in stands all over England and Australia long after he announced he was hanging up his mike in 2010, bore testament.
Benaud died in Sydney at 84, a fortnight after the final of the 2015 World Cup in Australia.
Batting & Fielding