Thursday, April 16, 2015

Benaud - The Voice of Cricket

10th April 2015 was possibly the saddest day for the world of Cricket in my memory with the passing away of Richie Benaud- a cricketer par excellence, a commentator in a class of his own , a true gentleman and a superb human being. He was the Bob Hope of cricket - loved and adored by all, no one had a bad word to say about him. He loved cricket and having been involved with the game for over six decades, was able to adjust himself almost nonchalantly to the changes and ups and downs of the game.

Although his main recognition came as a broadcaster, he also stands out as an exceptional cricketer in the record books being the first cricketer to score 2000 runs and take 200 wickets. He was an extremely useful all-rounder, bringing wrist style leg spin bowling into fashion. He excelled as a captain never having lost a series and winning the Ashes three times bringing a distinctive style of aggression into the game not hitherto heard of. However, he came into his own behind the microphone and created a style of commentary which could not be imitated. His tremendous knowledge, deep insight into the game and choice of words made his commentary a unique experience and an enjoyment for the listeners which was so abstract it could not be put into words.Even his silence spoke volumes. He certainly knew when to speak and when not to. He never had to use words like 'you know', 'I mean' , 'tragedy'  and 'disaster' and so on. We never heard him describe a shot by a batsman as a 'great cricket shot' so frequently mentioned by other commentators. After all it is cricket and not football !! When one of his fellow commentators described a dropped catch as a