Richie Benaud has been recognised for his life-long contribution to cricket and will join Charles Macartney as the two newest members of the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame. The pair will be inducted at the Allan Border Medal ceremony in Melbourne on Monday night.
Benaud captained Australia in 28 Tests from 1958 to 1964, when he finished his 63-game career, and went on to become one of the world's most respected cricket journalists and broadcasters. He took over the captaincy from Australia's youngest skipper, Ian Craig, and became renowned as a meticulous tactician and a calm, communicative leader.
In his first series as captain he led Australia's 4-0 recovery of the Ashes after three consecutive series wins by England. His own form in that campaign was remarkable: 31 wickets at 18.83. The first man to reach the double of 2000 Test runs and 200 Test wickets, Benaud was Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1962 and ended up with 248 wickets at 27.03 and 2201 runs at 24.45.
As a commentator, Benaud's analytical mind and encyclopaedic knowledge brought a unique perspective to viewers. He was described by Gideon Haigh, the ]writer and historian, as "perhaps the most influential cricketer and cricket personality since the Second World War".
Benaud, who is on the selection panel along with administrators, journalists and other former players, said of the 25 inductees he had played with or against eight and watched a further eight from the SCG grandstands. "It is a great privilege to be inducted to the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame which, in my view, is the most prestigious of its kind in the sporting world," Benaud said.
"Of particular pleasure is that I am listed with Charlie Macartney, one of the greats of the game. My father Lou's 17th birthday present from his parents way back in February 1921 was to travel from Coraki to Sydney to watch Warwick Armstrong's team create a clean sweep of the five-match series with Macartney making a brilliant 170."
Macartney, whose Test career spanned nearly 20 years until 1926, was one of the most attractive batsmen of his era and his average of 41.78 did not do justice to his ability. Wisden described him in 1921 as "a law to himself - an individual genius, but not in any way to be copied".
After an impressive tour of England in 1921 - which included a punishing 345 in less than four hours in a tour match against Nottinghamshire - he was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year for 1922. He left the game on top and at the age of 40 finished his final Ashes tour in 1926 with 473 runs at 94.60, including three consecutive centuries.
The Hall of Fame was established in 1996 with ten members. Players are selected for their status as "sporting legends" as well as their outstanding records.
Australian Cricket Hall of Fame
Fred Spofforth, John Blackham, Victor Trumper, Clarrie Grimmett, Bill Ponsford, Sir Donald Bradman, Bill O'Reilly, Keith Miller, Ray Lindwall, Dennis Lillee
Warwick Armstrong, Neil Harvey, Allan Border
Bill Woodfull, Arthur Morris
Stan McCabe, Greg Chappell
Lindsay Hassett, Ian Chappell
Hugh Trumble, Alan Davidson
Clem Hill, Rod Marsh
Monty Noble, Bob Simpson
Charles Macartney, Richie Benaud
Brydon Coverdale is an editorial assistant of Cricinfo