Benaud, Macartney into Hall of Fame - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Benaud, Macartney into Hall of Fame

By Adam Cooper 04/02/2007 06:55:42 PM Comments (0)

Richie Benaud will on Monday earn due recognition for his playing achievements and is set to continue as the face and voice of Australian cricket on television beyond next season.

Already an icon to the millions of Australians who grew up with the game on television, Benaud will be inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame along with batsman Charles Macartney, one of the stars of this country's first champion era, at the Allan Border Medal count.

Benaud, 76, was one of Australia's great allrounders, the first man to achieve the double of 2,000 Test runs and 200 wickets. He also rates as one of the country's greatest captains and was skipper in the first tied Test, against the West Indies in 1960-61.

He is also keen to continue his role with Channel Nine, where he first became the front man of cricket coverage during the World Series days in the late 1970s.

Benaud maintains he is no longer a full-time commentator, as that title ended when he hung up his English microphone cord after the 2005 Ashes series.

But he wants to continue working with Nine beyond his current contract, which expires after the 2007-08 cricket season.

"I'm with Channel Nine until to the end of April next year, so I'm doing the full next summer and then, as I've done since 1977, I'll sit down with the head of sport, who is Steve Crawley now, and then we'll talk about what I'm doing," he said.

"We've got nine commentators now, we seem to be working harder than we've ever worked before, the ratings have been good and I think we've got a good, young, vibrant group of commentators, which is excellent, even though I'm an old ex-vibrant commentator.

"You don't know what you're going to do tomorrow. Neither do I. But I'm there for another year unless I drop off the twig in the meantime.

"Then I'll sit down and decide what I'm going to do. My preference would be to stay with Channel Nine because I've been with them and when I do finish I'd like to finish with Channel Nine."

Benaud said he was privileged to have captained Australia and have begun his first-class career with legends like Keith Miller, Arthur Morris, Ray Lindwall and Lindsay Hassett as mentors.

It was another great, fellow legspinner Bill O'Reilly, who asked a young Benaud what he thought of Hassett's NSW captaincy.

"I said 'I don't think he bowls me enough'," Benaud recalled.

"Tiger (O'Reilly) said 'There's a very good reason for that'. I said 'What's that, Tiger?'

"He said 'You're not a very good bowler. But after I've finished with you, you will be'. I can say in modesty he was correct."

Macartney played 35 Tests over almost 20 years as a batsman and left-arm spinner and was part of Warwick Armstrong's side which became the first to whitewash England in an Ashes series in 1920-21.

It was during that summer, Macartney's batting had an impact on the Benaud clan.

Richie's father Lou visited the SCG that summer on his 17th birthday and watched Macartney score 170, and Benaud senior always rated Macartney the equal of Don Bradman based on what he saw that day.

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