Australia

Richie Benaud: Private funeral for cricket legend

Tributes at the statue of Richie Benaud at Sydney Cricket Ground (11 April 2015) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The cricketing world has been in mourning since Richie Benaud died on Friday

A private funeral and commemoration service attended by family members and former players has been held for former Australian captain and legendary cricket commentator Richie Benaud.

Former players Shane Warne and Ian Chappell attended, as did former team-mate and Anglican lay-preacher Brian Booth, who led the service.

Benaud died on Friday, aged 84, after complications from skin cancer.

He was remembered in a private funeral attended only by his immediate family.

But later at the commemoration service, Warne and Chappell were joined by former Australia captain Mark Taylor and current test skipper Michael Clarke.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The former cricketer wanted a quiet funeral attended only by immediate friends and family
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Richie Benaud was a pioneering leg-spin bowler

In the memorial booklet, Benaud's family described him as "a special person who means so much to each of us in many different ways".

On Sunday his family "kindly declined" an offer by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's to have a state funeral in favour of something "very quiet and very private", Mr Abbott said.

A pioneering leg-spin bowler, Benaud played in 63 Tests - 28 as captain - before retiring in 1964 to pursue a career in journalism and broadcasting, including a long association with the BBC.

His final commentary in England came during the 2005 Ashes series, but he continued to work for Channel Nine in Australia until 2013.

Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards described Benaud as "the iconic voice of our summer".

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