Ex-Oz skipper Benaud to be a commentator till 2013

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Sydney, Nov.22 (ANI): Having spent endless summers as a cricket commentator of note, former Australian captain Richie Benaud is set to use his golden voice for the sport for another four summers.

Benaud has said that the Windies tour will not be his swansong.

He will give up ball-by-ball commentary at the end of the series.

Despite commentating on more than 500 Tests, Benaud will have butterflies in his stomach on the first morning at the Gabba (November 26).

"Yep! On each morning, but certainly the first morning when you're starting off saying 'good morning everyone'. That's a nervous moment. It's not a bad thing to be nervous. It keeps your mind on the job," says Benaud.

The former leg-spinning all-rounder has been on the job for a long time. Bill Lawry is proof that, if any were needed, a cricketer's personality isn't reflected in the commentary box.

In Lawry's case, the dour left-handed opening batsman was far more flamboyant behind the microphone than he was with bat in hand.

Benaud is the opposite. On the field, he was, by the standards of the day, demonstrative and expressive.

"I was probably more upbeat as a player than a commentator," he says matter of fact.

Richie Benaud is reeling off the most marvellous stories.

Like the time he didn't speak for two whole days while learning his craft. On why he was disappointed to finally meet Billy Birmingham. And why the famous "Gatting Ball" was the best thing he has witnessed in a lifetime of cricket - until Shane Warne produced something just as special two minutes later.

'Although people don't realise it, I haven't done any presenting for two years." Benaud may not be in front of the camera, but he will still be very much front and centre during another Australian summer. Having clarified his future -

Perhaps his media training provides a clue to Benaud, the TV persona.

The first piece of advice the former captain received on television presenting was "if you can't add something to what's on that screen to the viewer, then just shut up".

When he embarked upon a media career with the BBC in 1956, he was told to spend two days with famous racing commentator Peter O'Sullevan for Newbury's final meet of the year. Their first exchange went like this ...

O'Sullevan: Hello Richie. I understand you're going to be trailing my coattails for the next two days.

Benaud: I hope I don't get in the road, Peter.

O'Sullevan: Oh, you won't do that. There's only one small thing I want to make sure of. Don't speak to me. At all, during the day.

Benaud: OK Peter.

They were the last words he spoke for two working days. Only after the pair had knocked off, and Benaud was asked over a beer to reflect upon what he had learnt, did he utter his first syllable. And you wonder where those pregnant pauses come from.

Benaud also says that his trademark beige jacket doesn't exist any more,"

Benaud said before launching into a brief history of the jacket. "It's been all sorts of different colours. All the commentators in World Series Cricket had navy blue jackets with a Channel Nine logo of some kind on them.

"This was back in 1977-78. Kerry Packer rang up and said to the producer: 'Tell Richie to get a light-coloured jacket, I want him to be different so people know he's a presenter. All the others continue on with their navy jacket'. I kept the navy jacket as well, but the first one was a light grey and then it varied over the years until it came into a beige.

"But no, there are no beige jackets around. They don't exist any more."

In Benaud's eyes, Warne is also one of the best. Ever.

"I wouldn't have minded bowling at the opposite end to him," he said.

Warne's "Gatting Ball" is selected as the most outstanding thing he has seen on the cricket field as a player or commentator.

"One of the interesting things about that is that it was a magnificent ball - it drifted outside leg stump, pitched and then hit the top of off," he said.

"Gatting had no idea what happened to him. But a few balls later, there was an equally good ball that hardly anyone remembers.

"Warne had Robin Smith caught at slip by Taylor, a brilliant catch.

"The ball did exactly the same thing, it drifted to leg, spun back and found the edge for Taylor to take a superb catch.

Despite losing the Ashes, Ricky Ponting's captaincy is "terrific". (ANI)

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