Richie Benaud: inspirational leader

Dropped by Australia twice on his first Ashes tour in 1953 - a series which England won 1-0 - Benaud took time to acclimatise to the Test arena.

In fact the leg-spinning all-rounder scored neither a fifty nor took a five-for in his first nine Tests against the old enemy before he came good at Lord's in 1956, compiling a personal best against England of 97 to help guide Australia to a 185-run victory.

England, under Peter May, came back to take the series 2-1 but once Benaud was handed the captaincy in 1958/59 Australia's fortunes enjoyed a sharp upturn.

His leadership reflected his bowling: always energetic and positive, he was capable of getting the best out of his players, always offering encouragement and thinking one step ahead.

Australia cruised to an eight-wicket win in the first Test of the 1958/59 series as Benaud lead by example and returned seven wickets in the match and, after steering his side to victory by the same margin at the MCG, he followed up with nine wickets in the drawn Sydney Test.

The Ashes were regained at Adelaide, courtesy of a 10-wicket thumping, and Australia celebrated by wrapping up a 4-0 series rout back at Melbourne.

His place in Ashes folklore secure, Benaud went on to successfully retain the urn on the 1961 tour of England and again on home turf with a drawn series in 1962/63.

Although he averaged less than 20 with the bat against England in 27 Tests, 83 of his 248 Test wickets came in the Ashes and his all-round contribution to reviving Australian cricket was immense.

His success brought records - he became the first player to achieve the double of 2,000 runs and 200 wickets - and upon retirement in 1964 he developed his fledgling journalism career to become one of the most highly-regarded pundits of the modern era.