Commentator Richie Benaud announces retirement
Legendary cricket commentator Richie Benaud announced on Wednesday he will retire next year, ending nearly a half-century of broadcasting which made him an icon in the sport.cricket Updated: Feb 18, 2009 16:10 IST
Legendary cricket commentator Richie Benaud announced on Wednesday he will retire next year, ending nearly half-a-century of broadcasting which made him an icon in the sport.
"I'll be doing Australian cricket next year, 2010, but I don't do any television at all anywhere else now and when I finish next year, then I'll be doing other things," Benaud, 78, told local radio.
"That'll be no more television commentary."
The former Australian captain has worked in the commentary box since retiring from Test cricket in 1964, appearing extensively on Australian and British television.
Famed for his bowl haircut, beige jackets and engaging commentary, Benaud hung up the microphone for British television following the 2005 Ashes.
He received a standing ovation by the crowd at Lord's after completing his final commentary stint there that September.
Benaud has been a broadcaster so long that many are unaware of his achievements as a cricketer.
Benaud was appointed captain of Australia in 1958, and claimed 248 wickets in 63 Tests, while hitting three centuries.
A leg-spinning all-rounder, he was the first man to complete the Test double of 2,000 runs and 200 wickets. He remains one of only 10 Australians to have scored more than 10,000 runs and taken over 500 wickets in first-class cricket.
But he won greatest acclaim for his bold captaincy, leading Australia to Ashes series wins in 1958-59, 1961 and 1962-63 and never losing a series as skipper.
Benaud began his broadcasting career on BBC Radio in 1960 and then moved across to BBC Television three years later. He has been working for Australia's Nine network since 1977.
Unlike the modern breed of commentator -- who step straight from the pitch to the commentary box -- Benaud learnt the ropes with the crime correspondent of a Sydney newspaper.
He became a columnist with the News of the World tabloid, Britain's biggest-selling on Sunday newspaper, and worked more than 40 years on the title.
He was also a key advisor to Nine network chief Kerry Packer when he formed his breakaway World Series Cricket organisation in the late 1970s.
"Morning everyone", "don't bother looking for that let alone chasing that" and "it's gone into the confectionery stall and out again" are just some of the phrases which made Benaud a household name for cricket boffins the world over.
Cricket biographer Gideon Haigh said Benaud was "full of baits and traps and he fielded with verve".
"Yet it was his presence, as much as anything, which summoned the best from players: cool but communicative, he impressed as one to whom no event was unexpected, no contingency unplanned for," wrote Haigh.
"The same has applied to his journalism: terse, direct and commonsensical, and his broadcasting: mellow and authoritative.
"A guru to Ian Chappell and Shane Warne among others, he is perhaps the most influential cricketer and cricket personality since the Second World War."