Today we have lost one of the greats.
Richie Benaud was not boastful, but he could boast one of the most impressive cricketing records. The then Australian record of 248 test wickets. A three-time Ashes winning captain. Skipper in the 1961 first ever tied Test.
My father, who is old enough to have watched him play, says if he had a fault it was that he didn’t bowl himself enough. Even as a player he was too modest.
But what he’ll be remembered for most, most probably, is his contribution as a cricket commentator.
Never flustered, he combined a deep respect for the game with encyclopaedic knowledge, burning insight, the most generous spirit, the driest of wits and crystal clarity of thought.
To settle an argument, he was once asked to explain why a googly was called that. He paused barely an instant before replying: “what else would you call it?”. End of argument.
Another time he was asked about the secret of his success as a commentator. He replied that there really was no secret. He simply tried to “think quickly and talk slowly”.
As a ground rule for all and any communication that’s something I’ve never forgotten, except when I’m talking too quickly to be able to think. Which shows.