Richie Benaud : biography
He took the wicket of Queensland batsman Bill Brown in his third match of the season. Benaud erroneously recalled in an autobiography that this was his maiden wicket—it was his fourth—and described the ball as "the worst I ever bowled".Benaud, pp. 41-43. He had more success with the bat, scoring 93 and narrowly missing a century against South Australia. He added another fifty and ended with 250 runs at 31.25.
The next season, England toured Australia, and with the Test players back, Benaud was initially forced out of the team. He was recalled for a match against the Englishmen. He was attacked by the touring batsmen, taking 1/75 from 16.5 overs in his first outing against an international outfit. His only victim was the all-rounder Trevor Bailey. He scored 20 not out and was entrusted with the ball in the second innings.
In the next Shield match against Victoria, led by Australian captain Lindsay Hassett, Benaud came in for attack. Hassett was known for his prowess against spin bowling, being the only batsman to score centuries in a match against the leg spin of Bill O’Reilly, regarded as the finest bowler of his age. Hassett struck 179 in four hours, and took 47 runs from Benaud’s seven overs. The young leg spinner claimed Hassett in the second innings when a ball landed in a crack and skidded through onto his foot. He ended with 3/56, the first time he had taken three wickets in a match. In the next match against South Australia, he made 48, took 4/93 and 1/29 and suffered three dropped catches by the wicketkeeper in successive balls. Benaud was cementing his position and was in the senior team for four consecutive matches even with the Test players available. He was selected for an Australian XI match against England, in what was effectively a trial for Test selection, suffered a chipped bone in his thumb. This put him out of action until the last match of the season,Benaud, pp. 44-46. and put paid to any hopes of quick rise to international cricket. Benaud returned and scored 37 and took a total of 2/68 in the final match, ending the season with 184 runs at 36.80 and 11 wickets at 34.63.
Cricket career highlights
- Early in his career, he hit 100 runs against the West Indies in 78 minutes, the third fastest Test century of all time (in terms of minutes at the crease, not balls faced) and the second fastest by an Australian.
- Benaud was in charge for the inaugural 1960-61 Frank Worrell Trophy against the West Indies, a series that included the famous Tied Test.
- Benaud’s highest Test score of 122 was made against South Africa, Johannesburg, 1957–1958
- His best Test bowling effort of 7 for 72 was against India, Madras, 1956–1957
- He captained Australia in 28 Tests: 12 wins, 12 draws, 4 losses
- In 1963 he became the first player to complete the Test double of 200 wickets and 2,000 runs. He is one of only 10 Australian cricketers to have scored more than 10,000 runs and taken over 500 wickets in first-class cricket.
- He ended his Test career in Sydney with statistics of 248 wickets (the Test record at that time) at 27.03 and 2,201 runs at 24.45.
In 1967 Benaud married Daphne Surfleet, who had worked for the English cricket writer E.W. Swanton. Both had been married previously and Richie had two sons from an earlier marriage. They live in an apartment in Coogee, in eastern Sydney, and a villa in the French Côte d’Azur – where they spend about half of each year.
On 29 October 2008, Benaud’s mother Irene died, aged 104. He said of his mother, "She improved my love of vegetables by introducing the phrase, ‘You can’t go out and play cricket until you have eaten all your vegetables.’"