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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.
What was your favourite Richie moment? Please share it in the comments below.