SYNONYMOUS with Australian summer over six decades, the memory of former Australian Test Cricket Captain and the ‘voice of Australian Cricket’, Richie Benaud OBE, has been memorialised in a limited-edition 50 cent coin unveiled ahead of the third Test against South Africa, which begins at the Adelaide Oval today.
“To think of summer in Australia and not have Richie Benaud as part of that folklore is simply not cricket,” Small Business Minister Michael McCormack says.
“There is no Australian generation which has been untouched by Richie Benaud. Whether that’s the indelible link forged through playing alongside Australia’s greatest, Don Bradman, or the 28 Tests for which he captained Australia and became the first player to score more than 2,000 runs or take more than 200 wickets, Richie was one of our greatest on the pitch,” Mr McCormack said.
“But it is Richie’s iconic commentary which engraved forever the ‘cream, bone, the white, the off-white, the ivory or the beige’, as well as his insight and analysis over decades, into the Australian cricketing lexicon.
“So too, communities such as mine see Richie as our own. His father was Principal at the local school in Jugiong in my electorate and he never forgot the importance of cricket clubs at the grassroots level – no matter if he was in the commentary box from the Cathedral End, fielding long-off at Lords or with the juniors at Jugiong.
“Richie’s is a memory which is truly marvellous,” Mr McCormack said.
Struck with images of Benaud’s face, a batsman, commentary microphone and the iconic fan group The Richies, the 50c coin was endorsed by Mr Benaud’s widow, Daphne, and was designed to capture the many ways in which Richie Benaud touched Australian cricket.
The 95,929 available coins are a combination of Mr Benaud’s match statistics, more than half a century after Mr Benaud retired from first class cricket.
Available online or from the ground at the Adelaide Oval, the commemorative coin goes on sale today and can be purchased at the Royal Australian Mint website.