Richie Benaud - The Father of Cricket Broadcasting

Tributes For Richie Benaud
Tribute to Richie Benaud - The Father of Cricket Broadcasting

Commentary is an extremely important conduit for linking fans with the romance and mythology of the game of cricket, and Mr. Richie Benaud is the undisputed doyen in the world of cricket broadcasting. Australians were pioneers in commercial cricket broadcasting as they set up a national government-owned radio network as early as 1932. The network, now known as ABC, started its operation by delivering live nationwide broadcasts of the massively popular but controversial Bodyline Series in the summer of 1932-33.

Over the years, cricket commentary has changed from a formal description of the gentleman's game to a delirious elucidation of the ebbs and flows of an IPL match. Every notable broadcaster has their own unique style of commentary. Starting with the silky smooth narration of a test match session by John Arlott to the euphoric description of Sachin's Sharjah storm by Tony Greig, their robust analysis is a part of cricketing folklore.

As Swanton & Johnson transitioned to radio, Richie Benaud, Dennis Compton, Ted Dexter & Jim Laker moved into the commentary box of televised cricket in the 1960s. Richie Benaud had officially begun his legendary stint as a cricket commentator. The best part about Benaud's relationship with cricket was his commitment to the game, which remained true even in the most trying circumstances.

Benaud - The Sound of Silence

Richie Benaud was one of the few commentators who respected the nostrum of silence. In fact, one of his most famous quotes on cricket commentary states, "If you can add to what’s on the screen then do it, otherwise shut up."

No other broadcaster could use silence as a greater weapon than Benaud. Silence expressed the superfluity of his comments. Benaud believed that television was not a place for debate or contention. The key to broadcasting was to appreciate the economy of words and to never insult the audience by telling them what they could already see.

Benaud was particularly careful not to use any examples from his career or era during commentary. Here are a few specific aspects that made Richie Benaud a legend in the field of broadcasting:

Knowledge and Analysis

Benaud's commentary was always insightful, and he had a great ability to explain complex aspects of the game in a way that was easy to understand. When commenting on a batsman's technique, he would break down his footwork and head position and explain why it was effective or ineffective. He also had a deep understanding of the game's strategy, which allowed him to provide an analysis of a team's tactics and predict how the game might develop.

Clarity of Thought

Benaud had a clear and concise style of narration that made it easy for fans to understand what was happening on the field. He would often explain the rules of the game or the terminology being used so that casual fans could follow along. His commentary promoted the inclusion of fans into the game in a vivid and engaging way.

Dry Humor

Benaud was known for his dry wit and his ability to inject humor into his commentary. For example, when a player was dismissed in an unusual way, he might quip, "Well, that's one way to get out." He was also famous for his love of colorful jackets, and would often comment on the sartorial choices of the players or his fellow commentators.

Impartiality

Benaud was always fair and impartial in his commentary, and he never played favorites. He would give credit where it was due, even if it meant praising a player from the opposing team. He was also not afraid to criticize players or teams when they made mistakes or underperformed. One of the more prominent examples was when he derided the Australians on live TV for deploying under-arm bowling against New Zealand in 1981.

Respect

Benaud was highly respected by players and fellow commentators alike, and his professionalism was evident in his commentary. He would always refer to players by their full names and would never resort to personal attacks or insults. He was also known for his ability to put the game in context and would often comment on the historical significance of a particular match or moment.

Overall, Benaud's commentary was special because of his deep knowledge of the game, his ability to communicate that knowledge in a clear and concise way, his sense of humor, his impartiality, and his professionalism. He was a true legend of the game, and his commentary will always be remembered as some of the finest in cricket history.

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