Benaud signs on for three more years with Nine

Published: Wednesday, November 24, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Venerable television cricket commentator Richie Benaud has played down reports of his imminent retirement by signing a new three-year deal to stay with Australia's Nine Network broadcast team.

The 74-year-old former Australian cricket captain has been calling cricket at Kerry Packer's Nine Network since 1977 and has a huge following in Australia and throughout the cricket world.

"Richie is an icon of Australian cricket and he has signed a contract to stay on for another three years," Nine spokesman Jamie Campbell said on Wednesday.

"He loves the game. Cricket is his passion and his life and he has no intention of stopping as a commentator any time soon.

"There's no point in talking about replacements for him when he's just signed up for another three years."

There had been speculation that former England 'A' captain Mark Nicholas was being groomed to take over from the distinguished Benaud.

Benaud's deal puts to an end to suggestions for the time being that Nicholas was on the verge of taking over.

Another famous cricketer being mooted for a future place on the Nine Network commentary team is Test cricket's leading wicket-taker Shane Warne, who is expected to follow former teammates and current Nine employees Mark Taylor and Ian Healy.

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