Having read on Twitter yesterday that Richie had moved into a hospice it was still very sad this morning to wake up to the news that a cricketing and broadcasting legend has passed away.
Late last year it was announced that Richie was receiving treatment for skin cancers on his head. This was in addition to a car crash he had been involved in a couple of years ago that left him with two broken vertebrae. On announcing his cancer Richie had said that he hadn’t bothered to wear a hat or sunscreen in his playing days but on reflection wishes he had.
Richie did so much for the game as a proud Australian cricketer and then went on to further enhance the game with his commentary. He had been unable to commentate for the last couple of years following his car crash but today the sport has lost a great player, commentator and ambassador.
Richie’s voice left the UK airwaves at the end of the 2005 Ashes series when cricket in the UK went to Sky as Richie always wanted to work for free to air channels. Prior to that it’s hard to think of an English cricket fan who didn’t grow up listening to the famous Australian’s voice. As a commentator Richie was famous for his “Morning everyone” start to daily broadcasts, today following his passing it’s “Mourning Everyone” as the cricket world says goodbye to one of it’s favourite people.
He leaves behind a very respectable playing record as an all rounder, a leg spinner and batsman. He played 63 games for his country, held a 6 year test Captaincy during which team Australia didn’t lose a test series. His first class record saw him take 945 wickets in 259 first-class matches while scoring 11,719 first-class runs, including 23 centuries at an average of 36.50. He leaves behind an unparalleled record as a cricket broadcaster. Such was his professionalism that he put aside his own struggle to record a touching tribute to Phil Hughes when the upcoming Australian star was killed, struck by a bouncer, in a state game.
As a broadcaster he worked in England for the BBC and Channel 4 between 1963 and 2005 where he was equally as popular as in his homeland where he was the Channel Nine lead commentator. As a fine commentator he said just enough to add to the pictures but during rain breaks he was fantastic as he imparted his immense knowledge of and love for the game to viewers.
RIP Richie, thanks for enhancing a sport I love.