In defence of Benaud: A TS response
Since we bade our fond farewell to Richie Benaud in the pages of TS this week we have had an interesting response questioning our knowledge from tax lecturer and Glamorgan season ticket holder Hywel Williams.
‘I’ve no doubt about your accountancy credentials but felt Taking Stock might be a late convert to this cricket lark,’ wrote Hywel. ‘Far be it for me to suggest that bandwagons and jumping should be mentioned in the same sentence but the phrase you use: Richie Benaud knocking out centuries as a cricketer, rather disguises the fact that he was in fact the Shane Warne of his day, holding the previous highest total of test wickets by a leg spinner (some 200+) rather than being, say, a precursor of Brian Lara!’
TS was rather taken aback by the accusation of bandwagon jumping (although we did have a brief fling with rugby union recently), but does admit that Richie was a tad more famous as a rather superb leg spinner than for his feats with the willow. Benaud, as Hywel suggests, took 248 wickets in his test career, his best figures being 7-72. Not bad at all.
But, and it’s a reasonably big but, Richie was certainly no slouch with the bat. He notched up three test centuries in his time as a player, his best being 122 against South Africa at Johannesburg in December 1957. He even managed an agonizingly close 97 against England at Lords in June 1956. All in all he made half-centuries nine times, ending his career with a test average was 24.45. He also managed to get past the 100-mark 23 times at first class level.
These are figures, we’re sure, Shane Warne or any trainee accountant as Benaud once was, would be very proud of. Heck, Warne is desperate for just the one ton.