National treasure: Richie Benaud is expected to return to the commentary box during the Ashes series. Photo: Pat Scala
Legendary cricket figure Richie Benaud is in a Sydney hospital after suffering injuries in a car accident on Wednesday.
The 83-year-old former Australian Test captain and long-time commentator on Channel Nine sustained chest and shoulder injuries, as well as a broken sternum, while driving towards his Coogee home in his prized 1963 Sunbeam Alpine.
A statement from Nine said Benaud’s car had mounted a nature strip and hit a small brick wall.
‘‘No one else was injured, and I was more worried about the car than myself,” Benaud said in the statement.
It is understood Benaud was returning home after hitting golf balls at the Australian Golf Club where he is a member.
He is expected to be hospitalised for two weeks at the Prince of Wales hospital.
Benaud’s wife Daphne said he was in better spirits on Thursday after initially being shaken by the accident.
“Richie’s remarkable,” Mrs Benaud said. “At first I was quite concerned but today he’s looking unbelievably well.”
It was unclear whether Benaud would recover in time to call the first Test between Australia and England at the Gabba, starting on November 21, but Nine Entertainment CEO David Gyngell said he would be during the series.
“Richie is a national treasure,’’ Gyngell said. ‘‘In the Nine family, he sits at the head of the table.
‘‘As always he and Daphne have our support and Richie will return to call the coming Ashes series against England – his 36th summer in Nine’s Wide World of Sports commentary box – when he is good and ready.”
While Nine are hopeful of a swift return to the commentary box for Benaud, his accident makes him unlikely to attend the annual Bradman Foundation dinner at the SCG next Wednesday, where he was scheduled to give a speech and induct this year’s honoree Mark Taylor.