Benaud celebrates 50 years of his appointment as captainJanuary 3rd, 2009 - 6:57 pm ICT by IANS
Sydney, Jan 3 (IANS) Richie Benaud celebrated the golden anniversary of his appointment as Australia’s 28th Test captain at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here Saturday. Not all his team mates could be present at the reunion in the new Victor Trumper stand at the SCG. But Les Favell, Jim Burke, Wally Grout, Ray Lindwall, Ken ‘Slasher’ Mackay, Peter Burge and Norm O’Neill - who have passed away were remembered with great affection and their deeds recalled and retold with warmth and mirth.
Six of Benaud’s charges Neil Harvey, Colin McDonald, Alan Davidson, Lindsay Kline, Meckiff and 12th man Bob Simpson were those who were present at the reunion.
But the skipper, who is three months into his 79th year with a little more than a year of his Channel Nine contract to run remains an active broadcaster and writer (this is his 50th year with the News of the World in Britain) with a work and travel diary bound to daunt those decades younger.
Saturday, Benaud as usual fulfilled his duties as patron of the Primary Club, a most admirable cricket charity, by addressing 450 people at a fundraising breakfast before heading to his broadcasting position and a full day’s work at the final Test match.
“There was no doubt the 1950s was a bit of a downer apart from the fact we were losing. When Favell and Burke made the 36 we needed to win and regain the Ashes in Adelaide that was the first time since I started in first-class cricket (January 1949) I’d been on a side beating England in a series. Ten years - that’s a long time,” Benaud was quoted as saying by The Australian.
“That the ’50s was a down period was accentuated for me when (Don) Bradman made that speech to the team before the start of the tied Test series (with the West Indies) in 1960-61. He said the last two series in Australia had been pretty ordinary from the entertainment point of view and what we want is some excellent cricket for spectators,” he recalled.