Over But Not Out by Richie Benaud
Sunday 17 October 2010
If John Arlott was for most English cricket-lovers the quintessential voice of the game on radio, so it has been with Richie Benaud on television. Despite being an Australian, and a former captain of the deadly Ashes rivals to boot, he was voted overwhelmingly as the nation's favourite commentator in a 2005 poll, but that was the last season he broadcast live in this country, ending a span of 42 years, after Sky acquired the Test rights.
Some of the territory he covers will be familiar to readers of his earlier books, but he still writes freshly about his early life in a remote outpost of New South Wales and the characters he played with and against on his journey to the top as a leg-spinner and attacking middle-order batsman.
A player's player, he had little time for the alickadoo administrators he encountered, rather more time for a drink and a punt on the horses when relaxing, without ever taking his eye off his cricketing objectives. Turning his beady eye to the current state of the game, Benaud is anything but conservative: he embraces Twenty20, with minor reservations, and although famously he has never broadcast on pay-per-view TV, his analysis of the financial problems for the lower levels of the game if Tests and/or Ashes series are ring-fenced for free-to-air viewing only is acute. In The Best Views from the Boundary: Test Match Special's Greatest Interviews (Corinthian, £14.99), John Paul Getty Jnr said: "I admire Richie Benaud as a television commentator – I think he's the very best." He was no slouch as a cricketer, either, and in both roles his fundamental decency and deep understanding of the game shone through, as they do in this book. He celebrated his 80th birthday a few days ago; may there be more birthdays, and more books.
Published in hardback by Hodder & Stoughton, £19.99
Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Katie Hopkins gives rare glimpse of sensitive side with heartfelt open letter to her children penned in case she dies from epilepsy
- 2 Rihanna's Met Gala dress took one Chinese woman 2 years to make, was reduced to omelette meme in 2 seconds
- 3 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Penny Dreadful, series 2 episode 1, review: It is still gloriously silly
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
Eurovision 2015: What date and time is the song contest and who are the favourites to win?
Indiana Jones sequel confirmed by Lucasfilm - but will Harrison Ford return to the franchise?
How the Other Half Eat, Channel 4 - TV review: Swapping food trolleys shows how food and class are closely connected
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils