Richie Benaud OBE was a Foundation Member of the Primary Club of Australia and served as Vice President until his appointment as Twelfth Man and Patron in 2003.
Richard Benaud OBE was a Foundation Member of the Primary Club of Australia in 1974 and served as Vice President until his appointment as Twelfth Man and Patron in 2003. He helped to pioneer some of the early cricket fixtures we staged at the Club’s Lemon Tree Ground at Dooralong in the 70s and early 80s, which included great players such as Doug Walters, Alan Davidson, Gordon Rorke, Graham Thomas, Peter Philpott and Brian Taber.
Following Richie’s death in 2015, David Frith wrote in a tribute article in the Guardian:
“Richie Benaud, who has died aged 84, was perhaps best known latterly for his work as a global cricket commentator, with his distinctive voice, familiar fixed gaze, prominent bottom lip and carefully tended coiffure. But he had been a distinguished performer for Australia on the cricket field himself, playing for his country for 12 years until 1964.
“The best of his career hung principally on the exhilarating Test series of 1960-61, when he captained Australia against the visiting West Indies side led by Frank Worrell. Some tedious contests had been inflicted on the watching public, with more to follow in the 1960s. But that extraordinary five-match encounter produced electrifying batsmanship, and bowling that was less concerned with shutting the game down than keeping it moving.”
Richie was a Test cricket all-rounder, blending leg spin bowling with lower-order batting aggression. Along with fellow bowling all-rounder Alan Davidson, he helped restore Australia to the top of world cricket in the late 1950s and early 1960s after a slump in the early 1950s. In 1958 he became Australia's Test captain until his retirement in 1964. He became the first player to reach 200 wickets and 2,000 runs in Test cricket, arriving at that milestone in 1963.
After retiring from playing in 1964, Richie turned to full-time cricket journalism and commentary, dividing his time between Britain (where he worked for the BBC for many years before joining Channel 4 in 1999), and Australia (for the Nine Network). Overall, he played in or commentated on approximately 500 Test matches, as he himself noted in one of his final interviews in Britain when asked if he would miss Test cricket.
Richie was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1961 for services to cricket. He was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985. In 1999, he was awarded a Logie Award for Most Outstanding Sports Broadcaster.
In 2007, he was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame at the Allan Border Medal award evening and in 2009 he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.
During his term as Patron of the PCA, Richie attended and spoke at every one of our Sydney Test Match Breakfasts held on Day 1 of the Sydney Test each summer, and supported, along with his wife Daphne, a Life Member of the PCA, many other events such as our Marathon Cricket Festival at the SCG, where he happily chatted with small groups of players and guests for hours about their favourite topic – cricket!