Australian bowling legend Shane Warne has hailed Richie Benaud as a “legend on all levels” and thanked the cricket icon for acting as a mentor to him throughout his career.
The former Australian captain and commentary doyen died overnight in his sleep after battling skin cancer. He was 84.
As tributes for Benaud flooded in on Friday, Warne took to Instagram to post a heartfelt letter to his late fellow leg-spinner, describing him as “an absolute gentleman”.
“Dear Richie, I’ve known you & Daphne for close to 30 years & to everyone you were a legend on all levels & rightly so too,” Warne wrote alongside a close-up portrait of Benaud.
“As a cricketer, commentator & as a person, you were the best there’s ever been & to top it off, an absolute gentleman.
Warne wrote it was “an honour” and “a privilege” to call Benaud a close friend and mentor.
“We had so many wonderful times together, talking cricket & in particular, our love & passion of leg spin bowling.
“I will cherish our entertaining dinners & all the fun times we shared over a long period of time.
Benaud, widely known as the greatest attacking spin bowler of his Test cricket era, eventually paved the way for Warne’s prowess with the ball.
“I would also like to thank you & Daphne for all your support & time you made for me as a young cricketer & leg spin bowler trying to make his way as an 18 year old, your tips & advice along the journey meant so much,” Warne wrote.
“Richie, you were loved by everyone, not just the cricket family, you were the godfather of cricket & you will be missed by all… R.I.P my friend #BowledRichie.”