Richie Benaud

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Richard "Richie" Benaud OBE (pronounced /ˈbɛnoʊ/) (born October 6, 1930, in Penrith, New South Wales) is a former Australian cricketer who, since his retirement from international cricket in 1964, has become a highly regarded commentator on the game.

Benaud was a world-class Test cricket all-rounder, blending thoughtful leg spin bowling with lower order batting aggression. Along with fellow bowling all rounder Alan Davidson, he helped restore Australia to the top of world cricket in the late 1950s and early 1960s after a slump in the early 1950s. In 1958 he became captain of the Australian cricket team and, until his retirement in 1964, took international cricket into the modern era by emphasising the need for positive play, using his media expertise to communicate his and his team's goals clearly and effectively.

Gideon Haigh described him as "... perhaps the most influential cricketer and cricket personality since the Second World War."[1] In his review of Benaud's autobiography Anything But, Sri Lankan cricket writer Harold de Andrado wrote: "Richie Benaud possibly next to Sir Don Bradman has been one of the greatest cricketing personalities as, player, researcher, writer, critic, author, organiser, adviser and student of the game."[2]

He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1961 for services to cricket.

In 2007, he was inducted in the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame at the Allan Border Medal award evening and in 2009 he was inducteed into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.[3]

Contents

Early years

Benaud came from a cricket family. His father Louis, a third generation Australian of French Huguenot descent,[4] was a leg spinner who played for Penrith in Sydney Grade Cricket, in 1922-23 gaining attention for taking all twenty wickets in a match against St. Marys for 65 runs. Lou later moved to Parramatta region in western Sydney, and played for Cumberland. It was here that Richie Benaud grew up, learning how to bowl leg breaks, googlies and topspinners under his father's watch.[4] Educated at Parramatta High School, Benaud made his first grade debut for Cumberland at age 16, primarily as a batsman.[5]

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