When Geoffrey Boycott recently commented on how Test matches have become boring, and are getting affected by the whole T20 circus, a deadpan Benaud commented, “Who made them boring?” This was the kind of terse, but commonsensical commentary that Richie Benaud is very famous for, something that makes him stand out from the crowd. But even before he started out as a commentator, Benaud was an excellent leg spinner, who picked up his 248 wickets at 27 apiece, a more than useful batsman down the order who scored 2201 runs, but most importantly, an astute captain who encouraged positive cricket as was evident by the 1960-61 Test series against West Indies.
As a spinner, he did not spin the ball a lot, but it was his disconcerting bounce that caused trouble for all the batsmen. But it was first as a captain, and then later after retirement as a commentator, that Benaud assumed a huge figure. He became a full time journalist cum commentator after retirement, in 1963. His career with the Channel Four as a commentator ended after 42 years of service, in 2005. Currently he continues to commentate for the Channel Nine in Australia.
It was a combination of all these qualities that made him very sought after by Kerry Packer for World Series of Cricket. And by each of us who enjoy a good, insightful dose of commentary.