Richard “Richie” Benaud OBE born 6 October 1930, 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 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 Australia’s Test captain until his retirement in 1964.
Gideon Haigh described him as “… perhaps the most influential cricketer and cricket personality since the Second World War.” 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.”
He was made an Officer 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 inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.
Early in his career, he hit 100 runs against the West Indies in 78 minutes, the third fastest Test century of all time (in terms of minutes at the crease, not balls faced) and the second fastest by an Australian.
Benaud was in charge for the inaugural 1960-61 Frank Worrell Trophy against the West Indies, a series that included the famous Tied Test.
Benaud’s highest Test score of 122 was made against South Africa, Johannesburg, 1957–1958
His best Test bowling effort of 7 for 72 was against India, Madras, 1956–1957
He captained Australia in 28 Tests: 12 wins, 12 draws, 4 losses
In 1963 he became the first player to complete the Test double of 200 wickets and 2,000 runs. He is one of only 10 Australian cricketers to have scored more than 10,000 runs and taken over 500 wickets in first-class cricket.
He ended his Test career in Sydney with statistics of 248 wickets (the Test record at that time) at 27.03 and 2,201 runs at 24.45.
Richie Benaud is also a successful author and a leading advocate for The Spirit of Cricket, the preface to The Laws of Cricket that seeks to reinforce the game’s tradition of fair play and sportsmanship.
His publications include:
- Richie Benaud’s Way of Cricket (1961)
- Tale of Two Tests (1962)
- Spin Me a Spinner (Paperback, 1963)
- The New Champions (1965)
- Willow Patterns (1969)
- The Young Cricketer (1971)
- Test Cricket (1974)
- Lords Taverners Fifty Greatest 1945-1983: Post War Cricketers (with T Bailey & MC Cowdrey, 1983)
- The Ashes 1982-83 (1983)
- Benaud on Reflection (1984)
- The Appeal of Cricket (1995)
- Fields of Glory: A Celebration of Cricket in Australia (with V Jenkins, paperback 1995)
- Border & Company (1997)
- The Wacker (with A J Barker, 1998)
- Anything but an autobiography (1998)
- Tom Smith’s New Cricket Umpiring & Scoring (with T Smith, 2001)
- Classic After Dinner Sports Talks (with Jonathon Price, Pam Ayres & Dick Francis, 2004)
- My Spin on Cricket (2005)
- Ashes in Focus (with P Eager, 2005)
- Warne (with Shane Warne, 2006)
- Wisden Anthology (with S Moss, 2007)