Thursday 18 January 2018

Benaud was an icon of the game who will be loved for ever

Richie Benaud
Richie Benaud

Geoffrey Boycott

I would love to have played under Richie Benaud. He would have been firm and very clear-thinking. I have talked to Bill Lawry and Bobby Simpson, Ron Harvey and Ray Lindwall, and they say he gave his players clear instructions - and that's all you ever want from a captain.

Richie - the former Australia captain and commentator, who died on Thursday night - would get a table when his team were batting and do his mail, but always made sure his players could watch him. He was a leader, not just a captain in name only.

"If you can carry your men with you, in business or sport, it is a gift, and he had it. You might not always agree with him but he gets you to play for him - that's the key of leadership.

The thing about Richie was that he very rarely offered advice until he was asked to. When you asked him, he was very generous and helpful.

I was interested in commentating long before I finished playing and it seemed to me a job in summer and winter that was not exactly work.

He gave me advice that has stayed with me forever. He said: "Don't talk too much, let people enjoy the pictures, and when you speak, try and give the viewers something to add to their experience of watching.

"Always remember to speak about the picture that the viewer sees, never talk about things they can't see, and the viewer is paramount.


"Pause just before the bowler gets to his delivery stride - this allows the editors to cut for highlights and replays, and be aware in commentating that microphones may be live even when they shouldn't be. If you swear off mike in the commentary box, never assume that it's switched off, and it might go out."

Richie was a man of careful delivery, very succinct, with a dry sense of humour, and very astute about everything going on.

Once, after England had been beaten very badly by Australia at Lord's, someone thought about Tony Lewis interviewing Richie to get an Australian view, to fill 15 minutes of the interval, which is a long time on TV.

Tony Lewis said to Richie: "What do England have to do to improve?"

Richie replied: "They have to practise their batting, their bowling and their fielding'. Tony said, "Anything else?" "No, that's enough to be going on with." Then there were 13 minutes left to fill!

He was respected, adored and loved by an older generation who had known him almost since the start of cricket on TV. Viewers felt comfortable with him. He will be remembered and loved forever. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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