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Richie Benaud's Biggest Fans Make A Marvellous Promise

The Richies promise to pack out Sydney Cricket Ground next January.

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Every year since 2010, the Sydney Cricket Ground has been filled with an ever-growing army of Richie Benaud impersonators, decked out in cream suits, grey wigs, and homemade Channel Nine microphones. They call themselves The Richies.

The Richies started as a group of ten friends who started dressing up as the cricket and broadcasting legend on the second day of the Second Test match between Australia and Pakistan in 2010.

Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

"Like so many other people, we grew up watching cricket on TV," says one of the founding Richies, Michael Hennessy.

"Five years ago, we heard he was retiring from commentating and we were absolutely devastated, so we got a few of us together to just say thanks for all the years."

"Even though we all didn't get to meet him, we all feel like we knew him." Hennessy told BuzzFeed News. "We want to continue to honour him and remind people of how amazing he was."

Benaud joined the group for an Australia Day barbeque in January. "He had the best sense of humour, he was so sharp," says Hennessy. "Richie pointed to our wigs and said 'You guys have got a bit more hair than me!'"

Australia Day BBQ with Richie Benaud & enough Lamb to sink the Endeavour. It doesn't get any better!

Michael Hennessy says Richie Benaud's legacy on the noble game is respect and fairness.

Central Press / Getty Images

"Cricket today is so competitive and borderline aggressive. Richie was a captain who wanted to win but made sure to share a moment after the match with the opposition."

The Richies say they try to honour that sense of respect, making sure that everyone's costumes look sharp on the day and embodying the sense of respectful competitiveness with other fans.

Matt King / Getty Images

"We try to live up to his standards. We remind everyone that we are there to enjoy the cricket.

"Last match, the Swami Army came down and hung out and danced with us in the stands, and it all just happened organically" Michael Hennessy says.

The Richies have set two ambitious goals for themselves next year: get day two of the SCG Test officially recognised as Richie Day, and fill the whole bay with 700 fans dressed as Richie Benaud.

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