Put the flags at half-mast. Today is a sad day.
Whether you are a cricket fan, a general sports fan, or simply just a proud Australian, shed a tear, for we have lost a true national icon, Richie Benaud.
The appearance of the famous bone jacket and voice of Richie, are iconic to Australia.
His voice, the sound of summer.
If you weren’t a cricket fan growing up, chances are someone else in your house was, and Richie’s dulcet tones were never too far away.
He was a unique talent behind the microphone, owing to a personal mantra he never wavered from.
“My mantra is: put your brain into gear and if you can add to what’s on the screen then do it, otherwise shut up.” – Richie Benaud
It is incredibly rare in this era to have a commentator to possess such a philosophy. So often in sport today, the broadcasting box is full of ex-athletes, who bring their changeroom boys-club banter to our airwaves.
Be it Cricket, rugby league or AFL, commentary today is all about filling every possible silence with a voice. It’s not uncommon in 2015 to hear commentators giggling like school children over fart jokes, or Shane Warne discussing Tinder.
Richie Benaud could say more with two words and a long pause than any current-day commentator can talking ten minutes non-stop.
His timing was impeccable, and he would let the play unfold organically before chiming in with a unique observation, or a witty remark.
The art of broadcasting has lost a true legend.
Like Murray Walker for Formula One and Phil Liggett for cycling, Richie was synonymous with cricket, and has left a mark that transcends cricket and makes him a revered giant of the Australian sporting landscape.
He truly was an iconic presence we will all miss in future summers.