TRAVEL PASSPORT: RICHIE BENAUD

The famed Aussie has flown a million and a half miles all in the name of cricket, both as player and TV commentator

I started travelling in 1953, with my first cricket tour of England. In those days we always travelled by ship, first class on P&O liners. On each of my first three tours, in '53, '56 and '61, we broke the speed record for the crossing from Fremantle, Western Australia, to England. The first time it took just over four weeks; the last, about three weeks. It was black tie for dinner every night - quite strange for a young boy from Parramatta, like me. Since 1964 travel has always been by plane.

We always stopped over in Colombo on the way to play a match, but otherwise it was straight through to England. We had a tough fitness regime on deck: Neil Harvey and I organised rigorous games for three hours every day in the hot sun. I don't think today's fitness trainers would approve, but we always arrived extremely fit.

Perhaps because England was the first foreign country I saw, it has always been my favourite place. Back in 1953 I was pretty happy to get here. I had read and heard so much about it.

My second favourite foreign country is France; my wife and I have a tiny apartment just outside Nice. I'm patron of the France Cricket Association, believe it or not: the country has associate status as a cricketing nation. My job is to keep a fatherly eye on the sport there.

In fact my ancestors were French: the first Benaud left France for Australia in 1838. There is even a village called Benaud, just south of Clermont- Ferrand; I'm told it's the smallest place you can ever see.

Since retiring as a player, I've been totally concerned with cricket journalism. My wife and I spend half the year in Australia and half in Europe, following the cricket seasons. My most memorable touring experience was arriving in the West Indies for the first time, in 1955. At the airport there were 3,000 people waiting to greet us, in a terminal designed to fit 500 at most.

One of my more unusual travel moments came during the World Cup in India in 1996, when all the TV commentators for Australia's Channel 9, including me, were late for the first match, in Vishakhapatnam. The producer found a young radio commentator who had never done TV before and said to him: "Right, you're on." Two minutes later he was broadcasting, by himself, live on television to the whole of Australia.

It ended up taking me 98 hours to get to Vishakhapatnam - the delays included having to make an immediate return to Delhi before we ran out of fuel.

Generally, though, I've had very few downers while travelling. Losing my passport has been one of my greatest fears, which is perhaps why I've never done it, despite having travelled over a million and a half miles in the past 50 years.

I

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
science
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
News
Comedian Ted Robbins collapsed on stage during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live at Manchester Arena (Rex)
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links