It came as a shock on Friday to hear that the great Richie Benaud had died. We knew he was ill. Just a few days before news had come that he had been placed in a hospice. Still…to hear that he was actually gone seemed somehow unreal. I found myself quite emotional at the news.
Like every cricket follower, and even many not, Richie Benaud was a constant over many Australian summer’s. I grew up with him as a commentator, and the best of all cricket commentators. He was authoritative, knowledgeable, often incisive, and with a trademark, dry wit. On top of that he seemed like a good bloke. Over time he became an icon.
Now he’s dead. He’s of another age. I tweeted the other day that it seems every week now that we lose someone more from my youth. It’s an era that is rapidly becoming extinct. It’s sad to think that such a time could pass by – it’s a time I lived through after all, a time when my parents were in their prime. My mother has gone, and so too now so many of her time – which, in part, was my time too. Up to a year or so ago, Richie was a part of this time as well.
There will never be another Richie. That’s sad on so many levels. As an individual he was someone to admire. As a commentator he was the best of the best. The qualities he portrayed as a commentator are now sadly very much out of vogue.
Richie knew that less was more. Over the last few days the common theme has been how much he knew the value of silence. There are no commentators today who possess those qualities. Today they are one and all excitable types who gabble on when they should be silent, who spout inanities as if they are sitting in the front bar of their local pub. They kill the moment when they should allow the moment to speak for itself. God how I’ve missed, and now I’ll miss him forever.
Won’t be the same without him. He was an authentic great Australian.