A sign waved for Richie Benaud when he gave his final commentary during the 2005 Ashes in the UK.
A sign waved for Richie Benaud when he gave his final commentary during the 2005 Ashes in the UK.

A generation of British fans will mourn Richie's loss

MORNING everyone.

Those were the words that greeted me most summer mornings during the English cricket season from the early 1960s to the late 1990s when Richie Benaud was the face and voice of the BBC's cricket coverage.

Benaud's lilting Australian accent had me captivated from an early age and it was really he and his then commentating partner former England off-spinner Jim Laker who got me into playing the game and then falling in love with it for the next 40-odd years.


To English cricket tragics like myself Benaud was the game.

He was the BBC's front man for Test matches long before he graced the screens on Channel Nine.

From 1963 Benaud and Laker joined together to describe the action.

Benaud was beautifully descriptive and painted a picture with his voice, even though it was there for all to see on our TV.

I got to meet the great man a couple of times - the first was at a garden party at the home of cricket, Lord's, at the centenary Test match between England and Australia.

He was everything I imagined him to be, softly spoken yet authoritative and commanding even though he was then in his 60s.

I was surprised at how big he was and as an 18-year-old autograph hunter I was awestruck by his presence.

I was also in awe of the way he generously gave me his time for as long as I wanted to chat.

Professionally, I met Richie a couple of years ago at the Gabba.

He was looking frail and was obviously not well but even then everyone was hanging on his every word.


BELOW: Richie Benaud in full flight, giving his final UK commentary during the 2005 Ashes.


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