Following Richie Benaud's death in April 2015, two of Australia's finest sports writers, Norman Tasker and Ian Heads, set off on a search for the real Richie: a man who graced the lives of many for more than six decades – first as an outstanding all-rounder and great captain, and then as cricket's greatest TV commentator.

 

Tasker and Heads cast a wide net, seeking fresh material from the people who knew Richie best. The result is an intimate tribute that gets to the heart of Richie Benaud, the man. Contributors include members of Richie's family and childhood friends; cricket greats, acclaimed journalists, commentators and colleagues...

 

Shane Warne, on Richie’s advice to young leg-spinners

“I was an 18-year-old cricketer at Lord’s trying to ply his trade when I first met Richie, and it wasn’t long before we got onto the topic of spin bowling. His passion for this subject was apparent from the very beginning.

 

“Over dinner now and then through the years, Richie and I would inevitably talk about spin bowling – grabbing bread rolls or whatever was in the vicinity that might be useful to demonstrate grips, how to bowl flippers and all of that.

 

“Of spin bowling, he had a favoured phrase: ‘Give it a rip!’”

 

Steve Waugh, on learning from Richie

“In 1998–99, I missed a number of one-dayers because of a torn hamstring, and was consequently invited into the Nine box to call a bit of the action. As is the way, I was thrown in at the deep end – no rehearsal, no training, fend for yourself, good luck. At this stage of my life, I hadn’t ruled out maybe one day doing some commentary, so I was eager to pick up some pearls of wisdom from the experts.

 

“When I had the chance, I peppered Richie with questions: ‘How do you do the live cross to the studio without an autocue? … How do you close the coverage? … How do you remember what you’re going to say? … Do you have advice?’

 

“He paused… ‘Well, Steve,’ he finally said. ‘Just don’t make any mistakes.’

 

“That was all he said.

 

“At first I thought he was taking the mickey out of me. But then I realised his message was this: It’s not easy. Don’t complicate things unnecessarily. Keep it simple.

 

“I know now that this advice works well with a lot of things, not just crossing to the six o’clock news. It was typical Richie.”

 

Media reaction to the Australian first edition of Richie: The Man Behind the Legend:

  • "The juxtaposition of the stories, the people who contributed - it all adds up to one of the best portraits of an individual I've ever read." --David Hill, former EP of World Series Cricket, later head of Sky Television in the UK and Fox Sports chairman in the US
  • "This beautifully produced book has been superbly and lovingly edited by two giants of Australian sports writing." Greg Cary, The Reviewers
  • "Beautifully presented, a fine production." --Association of Cricket Statisticians
  • "A fabulous book [with] some wonderful stories." --Fox Sports News
  • "A wonderful, unprecedented celebration." --Mark Nicholas
  • "A beautifully presented edition, carefully and lovingly crafted by two of the doyens of sports reporting. These authors have done a 'marvelous' (Richie's word!) job in revealing a remarkably shy and private man." --Paul Sheahan, former Test batsman
  • "The best sports book of the year, a funny and moving tribute to an icon." --Daily Telegraph (Sydney)

 

Click here for more information, or to read a sample from Richie.

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