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Cricket world pays tribute as Ian Chappell retires from commentary, reaction

Former Australian cricket captain Ian Chappell has retired from his glittering career behind the microphone, ending his 45-year career as a commentator.

Chappell, 78, who shot to fame as a commentator alongside Richie Benaud, Bill Laurie and Tony Gregg in the popular Channel 9 team, has finally decided to hang up the microphone.

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Chappell, who has been commentating on ABC Grandstand and Macquarie Radio in recent summers, told the Sydney Morning Herald he had been considering retirement for some time.

“I had a small stroke a few years ago and I got lucky. But it makes everything more difficult,” Chappell said.

“And with my travel and climbing stairs and things like that, I thought everything was going to get harder.

“Then I read what the Rabbits (recently rugby league commentator Ray Warren) said when he retired and I was struck by the bit about ‘you’re always one sentence away from making a mistake’.

Chappelli was part of an amazing team.  Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images
Chappelli was part of an amazing team. Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Chappelle says it’s not a question he can answer because he thinks it’s his legacy.

In later years other people will decide what they think of me and some will think I am fine.

“Some people think I’m a pr**k. That doesn’t bother me one bit.”

In the year Chappell played for 16 years in the 1960s and 70s, including being a key figure in World Series cricket before retiring in 1980.

Chappell played 75 Tests, 49 as captain, scoring 5345 runs at an average of 42.42 including 14 centuries as well as 673 runs in 16 ODI matches at an average of 48.07.

After many years in the media, Chappell jumped straight from behind the microphone on Channel 9 in 1980 and announced his retirement.

Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle posted: “Never pulled a punch, told him off, never talked to anyone, a brilliant professional and my role model for spreading work ethic. The great #IanChappe thinks it’s time to retire from broadcasting. I had the great privilege of working with him and I hope that proud voice will always be heard.

Enjoy your retirement Chappelli. Photo: AFP Photo / William WestSource: AFP

Former India star commentator Sanjay Manjrekar tweeted: “My idol, my mentor, my greatest blessing as a commentator is Ian Chappell’s commentary company. Happy retirement Chappelle!

Seven cricket commentator Lisa Stalekar added: “Oh. When I first wanted to get into criticism, Ian Chappell was very kind to sit down with me and give me his business tips. I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for his help and how he and the rest of the @wwos team have shaped cricket broadcasting.

“Fifteen years later, from the joy I had when Chappelli joined me on my first commentary with TMS, I’ve been involved with ABC in the last commentary season. A total icon of the wide world of sports. We still enjoy reading his straight columns,” said BBC commentator Alison Mitchell.

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