One of cricket’s most famous names who rose to become the voice of the sport he graced as an outstanding performer on the field, Richie Benaud will be inducted as the 40th Legend of Australian Sports Hall of Fame.
The announcement to honour Benaud posthumously as a “Legend” by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame has come on what would have been his 88th birthday (October 6). Benaud was described in the announcement as “a daring captain, a charming personality and a marvellous commentator… (who) traversed generations to become one of the most influential figures in cricket history.”
Paying tribute to the legendary leg-spinning all-rounder with 11,719 first-class runs, 23 centuries, and 945 wickets to his credit, Sport Australia Hall of Fame chairman John Bertrand said Benaud “transcended the sport of cricket”.
“He was the oracle of the game. A champion of the game, captained Australia 28 times over 63 Tests, he went on to become our most trusted and influential cricket broadcaster over a career spanning an incredible 48 years. He was the man,” Bertrand added.
LEGEND ANNOUNCEMENT: A daring captain, a charming personality and a marvellous commentator, the late Richie Benaud OBE will be officially elevated to become the 40th Legend of Australian Sport.
— Sport Aus HallofFame (@SportAusHoF) October 6, 2018
Among the most outstanding cricketing brains, Benaud had never lost a series as captain and was the first to accomplish the Test double of 2,000 runs and 200 wickets. He is also one of the rare group of Australian cricketers to have scored both 10,000 runs and taken 500 wickets in first-class cricket.
His Widow Daphne Benaud said Richie, who passed away in 2015 aged 85, would be proud to sit among such company as he had the utmost admiration for them. “Knowing he is up alongside those two would have made him extremely thrilled and honoured because he had such respect for both of them,” she said. “The family is most honoured by it too. We’re delighted and very much looking forward to the evening.”
Benaud will be only the third cricketer to become a Legend, alongside Sir Donald Bradman (1993) and Keith Miller (2004).
Benaud in 2008 was unanimously recommended for the greatest honour an Australian sportsperson would admire for. But the legend had himself requested to defer the honour as he was active in media and cricket as a commentator and columnist. He had been an inaugural member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985.
An elevation to the Legend’s status for a Hall of Fame member is the most prestigious honour for an Australian sportsperson.