Richie Benaud: Fans mourn 'sound of the English summer'

Richie Benaud Image copyright Getty Images

English cricket fans first met Richie Benaud, who has died aged 84, as a fiercely competitive Ashes opponent. But during more than 40 years of commentary on television and radio he became a national treasure and was regarded by many as the "sound of the English summer".

Here English fans pay tribute to the Australian cricketing great and broadcasting doyen.

Alf Huggett, 73, of Sidcup, Kent

"I think I saw Benaud play in the 1950s. I would have been a young boy at the time when England was playing Australia.

"I went down with a group of boys from the neighbourhood. The ground was full to capacity.

"He was a good all-rounder and seemed like a very amiable person, that's how he came across [when commentating].

"He was one of the best commentators, some others weren't so clear or they would talk about something else but he knew his stuff. I haven't got a bad word to say about him."

Jeff Cousens, 28, of Eastbourne

"People say he was the "sound of summer" and he really was.

"He was also the sound of our office when a Test match was going on.

"He was always on in the clubhouse too in East Sussex where I play."

Bryan Jordan, outside Old Trafford Cricket Ground

"I remember seeing him play here at Old Trafford for Australia against England in the late 1950s. I can't remember how many wickets he took but it was definitely a couple. He was a wonderful player.

"Many commentators these days just say the obvious. Richie wasn't like that, he would explain things you didn't understand. He accepted you had some knowledge of the game but wanted to learn more - and he taught you.

"He had such a warm, friendly manner."

Peter Wynne-Thomas, writer and historian at Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club

"He was a very private person and a very elusive guy.

"He had this trick of getting from his hotel to the ground and up to the commentary box without anyone seeing him. I don't know how he did it.

"He was like a ghost. He was trying to avoid autograph hunters more than anything else.

"When they built the new commentary box at Trent Bridge he was shown the plans and insisted there should be a toilet for him next to the commentary box.

"It's now known as Benaud's toilet. Whether they had a bucket or something in the old commentary box I don't know."

Stephen Pepper, outside Headingley, Yorkshire County Cricket Club's ground

"He was a great guy, I remember him as a commentator mainly but my dad, who's 80, remembered him as a player too.

"He just seemed nice to listen to, you felt he was a nice guy.

"It has become more relaxed now and there's not always a tie to be seen. But Richie was old school, I bet he wouldn't go out without a tie on.

"I love cricket and go often to Headingley. I never met him but I'll remember him."

Kenny Burton, outside Trent Bridge cricket ground, Nottingham

"He was just an ambassador for cricket really.

"It's just the way he came across, his dry sense of humour.

"You used to sit there and listen to him and you used to be chuckling to yourself at some of the things he came out with."

James Corrigan and his son Alex, of Ealing, west London

"Richie Benaud was the best commentator. He certainly knew his cricket, because he'd been there and done that.

"I listened to him on the radio and he always put across his enthusiasm.

"He was Australian but he liked England so that was alright. He must have done because he lived here."

Steve Parker, outside Headingley

"I remember him mainly from the coverage of the Ashes. It's a sad loss - he was the voice of cricket.

"It's like John Motson is to football commentary, he's always there.

"The first thing I remember about him is his grey hair and how smartly dressed he was."

Steve Turberfield, 47, from Worcester

"He was so good at telling it like it was without any bias.

"He always played it straight down the middle and gave the same respect to both sides.

"A lot of modern commentators don't do that."