Sydney | Former Australian captain and legendary commentator Richie Benaud, who had an outstanding bowling record against India with a phenomenal 52 wickets in just 8 Tests, passed away in his sleep aged 84.
Benaud, who was battling skin cancer and had survived a major car accident in 2013, reportedly died peacefully while asleep last night.
The former all-rounder, who was the first to score 2,000 Test runs and take 200 Test wickets, played 63 five-day matches in his career. Benaud took 248 wickets at an average of 27.03 and scored 2201 runs at 24.45 per innings with 122 being his highest knock.
It was against India that he really excelled during the 1956 series when he took 23 wickets in three Test matches, including a career-best figures of 7/72 at the Corporation Stadium in Madras, now called Chennai.
He took 52 wickets in all against India, an astonishing figure given that he played only 8 Tests for the haul. He came to India once in 1956 for a three-match Test series, during which he took 23 wickets, the highest by any bowler from either side. In the 1959 series, he took 29 wickets in 5 Tests.
A sad day for Australia. We have lost a cricketing champion and Australian icon. What an innings. RIP Richie Benaud, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott tweeted and declared that Benaud would be accorded a state funeral.
The Australian flag would also fly at half mast during Benaud’s funeral.
The BCCI paid tribute to the legendary former player saying, The world of cricket has not just lost a voice but a true legend in every sense…RIP Richie Benaud, you will be missed.
Benaud captained Australia in 28 Tests and the team did not lose a single series under his leadership.
After a glittering career on the field, Benaud embarked on what turned out to be a legendary innings as commentator and broadcaster for Channel Nine.
He also played a key role in the launch of World Series Cricket as an organiser for the Kerry Packer-conceptualised event.
Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards said Benaud’s impact on the game was indelible.
Our country has lost a national treasure, he said. After Don Bradman, there has been no Australian player more famous or more influential than Richie Benaud, he said.