His distinctive tones set the scene for many of the most memorable cricket matches of my childhood, and few people in the sport have ever been more beloved than Richie Benaud, a legendary Australian leg spin bowler and captain, who became the voice of cricket for more than three decades.
So it was with great sadness that I awoke in Byron Bay on Friday morning to a news report about the passing of one of a genuine sporting icon, a man who loved the game, and always insisted that it should be played in an exciting, progressive manner.
He had fought a long battle with skin cancer, and his overall health took a tumble after a car accident in 2013, although he continued to be active on the broadcast scene in Australia until earlier this year.
A commentating style based on a subtle, understated and dry delivery – something that could be said for his bowling as well – never threatened to over embellish the footage, or self promote the man who was speaking; Benaud was the master of sprinking a dash of garnish when the moment called for it.
In 2005 he called his final Test matches for English television, fittingly the Ashes that year is considered one of the greatest series of all time, and the commentary team that Channel Five assembled was akin to a who’s who of the good and great living orators in the booth.
An absolute surge of well-wishes and tributes have poured in from the cricketing world since news of Richie Benaud’s demise became widespread. His voice, sparkling personality and quick wit will be sorely missed in the game.