Legendary cricket commentator Richie Benaud could call Australia’s Test series this summer against India from his home if he is not fit enough to be at the grounds, his boss said on Wednesday. The 83-year-old former Australia captain, who has worked in the commentary box since retiring from Test cricket in 1964, suffered chest and shoulder injuries during a car crash late last year.
It prevented him calling a single ball during the Ashes series against England last summer, and it remains unclear whether he will be able to travel for the India series. Channel Nine has the cricket TV rights in Australia and chief executive David Gyngell told the Sydney Morning Herald that Benaud was so important he could call the games from his Sydney home.
“That’s what I’ve put to him,” Gyngell said. “If he’s not up to calling from the ground this summer, I’d like him to call from home. He’d be the ultimate armchair caller from the couch, wouldn’t he? “I’d prefer to have him calling at the ground, but I would say that will be difficult. If I have my way, he will be calling it from his home but it is completely his decision.”
Famed for his bowl haircut, beige jackets and engaging commentary, Benaud made his broadcasting debut on BBC Radio in 1960, moved across to BBC Television three years later and became a full-time cricket journalist and commentator when his playing career ended in 1964.
He hung up the microphone for British television following the 2005 Ashes series and received a standing ovation by the crowd at Lord’s.
He has been working for Nine since 1977. Gyngall has previously called Benaud “a national treasure” and said that “in the Nine family, Richie sits at the head of the table”.
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