The Sport Australia Hall of Fame is mourning the passing of our esteemed Member, Richie Benaud OBE in Sydney last night, aged 84.
Inducted into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural group in 1985, for his contribution to the sport of cricket. Benaud is widely regarded as one of the most influential people in the game’s history.
The Sport Australia Hall of Fame Chairman, John Bertrand AM said Benaud was an iconic figure on and off the field.
“Richie was a great cricket player, captain and personality of this country. He left his indelible signature on the history of the game.” Bertrand said.
The Board and Members of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame extend their deepest sympathies and condolences to Richie’s wife Daphne, brother John and the entire Benaud family during this sad time.
Regarded as one of Australia’s greatest cricket captains and finest all-rounders, as well as one of its most recognisable personalities, Benaud captained Australia in 28 Tests, and never lost a series.
The finest legspin bowler of his era, Benaud proved himself a match winner on numerous occasions. He made his Sheffield Shield debut at the age of 18, and played his first Test aged 21 in the 1951/52 series against the West Indies. From that time onwards, he steadily developed into one of the legends of the game.
In first class cricket, Benaud scored 11,719 runs (av. 36.50), including 23 centuries, and took 945 wickets (av. 24.73).
He played in 63 Tests, scoring 2201 runs (av. 24.45). This included three centuries and nine half centuries. He also took 248 wickets (av. 27.03) and 65 catches.
Upon being newly appointed captain, Benaud led Australia to regain the Ashes in 1958/59 after they had been lost to England in the preceding three series, and then successfully defended them twice.
His greatest bowling performance came when he took 6/70, giving Australia victory against England and retention of the Ashes at Old Trafford in 1961.
Benaud reigned as Australian captain from 1958 to 1963, and also captained New South Wales 32 times. His state career with NSW spanned 73 matches, 3,749 runs, 266 wickets and 92 catches.
Richie Benaud’s records in the game of cricket speak for themselves. He is one of a rare group of Australian cricketers to have both scored 10,000 runs and taken 500 wickets in first-class cricket. In 1963, he became the first player in the history of the game to achieve the Test match ‘double’ of 2000 runs and 200 wickets.
He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1962, and was also named Wisden Cricketer of the Year. After retiring as a player in 1964, Benaud went on to become a leading cricket broadcaster and writer, as well as part of the fabric of the game and its changes; from Tests to the turbulent World Series era and beyond.