Australian #Cricket has lost yet another of its sons, after the sad news of the death in his sleep earlier today of the well respected former captain and broadcaster Richie Benaud at the age of 84. The nation's Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced that a state funeral will be held if the family wish it to happen, such is the reverence afforded to the ex-spin bowler, who to many was quite simply the 'voice of cricket'.

Benaud was also well known to British cricket fans, spending many years commentating on Test matches in the country for the BBC both on television and radio, with Jonathan Agnew just one of those to have benefitted from his assistance during his broadcasting days.

Advertisements
Advertisements

The bad news comes shortly after his country had won the Cricket World Cup, a victory that the retiring captain Michael Clarke had dedicated to Phil Hughes, the young international cricketer who tragically died after being struck by a cricket ball in November last year. No doubt similar feelings will be stirred in the cricket-mad nation by Benaud's death, despite his advancing years and the fact that he had revealed at the back end of last year that he was requiring skin cancer treatment. Clarke has already paid his own personal tribute to his esteemed countryman, calling him a "wonderful leader of men".

For many younger viewers of world cricket, Benaud's own cricketing prowess as an accomplished leg-spin bowler and lower order batsman will not have been witnessed, given that he retired from the game back in 1964 after 12 years as an international player.

Advertisements

That was not before he had played in 63 Test matches though, with 28 of those being in the pivotal role of captain, the position he held for the last 6 years of his career. In the days before one-day internationals, his Test record of 248 wickets and over 2200 runs was more than respectable.

His playing days did not see the end of his association with the game though, as he moved into the world of journalism and broadcasting, becoming one of the most admired presenters of the sport thanks in no small measure to his sharp wit, with the knack of summing up the action through a witty remark or idiom. Global tributes from the modern-day greats of the game such as Sachin Tendulkar and Kumar Sangakkara, besides Australia's finest such as Shane Warne have also flooded in after news of his death.

He continued to commentate on cricket right up to the memorable 2005 Ashes in Britain, although in his native land his turn at the microphone extended until 2013.

Abbott likened Benaud's death to the loss that the nation felt when they lost the great Don Bradman, describing his vocal style eloquently as "his voice was even more present than the chirping of the cicadas in our suburbs and towns, and that voice, tragically, is now still."