The Royal Australian Mint has released a 50 cent coin featuring images of iconic cricketer and commentator, the late Richie Benaud.
This means we can talk about a mint and cricket in positive terms for the first time all week, following the "lollygate" affair this week. More importantly, it's a lovely tribute to a much-admired Australian.
Benaud won legions of fans for his dry, understated cricket commentary. He always said that a TV commentator should never waste his breath relaying details which viewers could see for themselves. In a commentary box filled with blusterers, his words were rare, and valuable. A little like the coin struck in his honour.
Just 95,929 Richie coins have been minted. They are classed as collectibles, and have the full approval of Benaud's widow Daphne. Mint CEO Ross MacDiarmid said it was an honour to feature Benaud on Australian currency, remembering the legend on and off the field.
"As a truly iconic Australian household name in his career as a cricketer and commentator, Richie Benaud's cricketing statistics are legendary, leading the Australian team to hold the position in the sport's top spot," said Mr MacDiarmid.
Mint guy is half right, but also half wrong. While Benaud's stats were impressive, they were not "legendary". But the man himself was. His demeanour, his look, everything about him. That's why he had throngs of imitators who dressed in grey wigs and beige jackets.
The "Richies", as they were known, form part of the backdrop to the coin's design. And the reason 95,929 of these coins have been minted? Well, cricket is a game of stats and if you add up all of Richie's first class cricket (state and Test matches) stats, you get that number. Here are the stats:
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- Runs: 13920
- Wickets: 1193
- 100s: 26
- 50s: 70
- Balls bowled: 79589
- Catches: 319
- Matches: 322
- Batting innings: 462
- Tests captained for Australia: 28