Cricket tributes Packer

Leading cricket figures from around Australia have paid tribute to media mogul Kerry Packer, who passed away on Boxing Day.

Packer was considered on of the most influential figures in Australian cricket after his world series idea, revolutionised the game and propelled it into the professional era.

Cricket Australia Chairman Creagh O’Connor said that Packer, who passed away at his Sydney home age 68, stood alongside Sir Donald Bradman as one of the most important figures in the Australian game.

"That cricket is today taken for granted as a natural part of the Australian way of life is in no small measure due to his influence,” Mr O’Connor said.

"The so-called 'Packer revolution' in the 1970s has left a lasting legacy in the way the game is played, administered and presented to the public via the influential Channel 9 telecast."

"On behalf of Australian cricket, including all at Cricket Australia and its member state associations, and on behalf of the players he so admired, I offer Mrs Kerry Packer, and his children, James and Gretel, our sincere condolences”.

Former Australia captain Richie Benaud told Channel Nine of Packer's great passion for the game.

"You could sit down with him and talk about the game. We argued often about laws and the game of cricket itself. He'll be much missed, and heartfelt sympathies from all of us (to the Packer family)," he said,

"We first met during the formation of World Series cricket. There was never anything mundane or orthodox about him," Benaud said. "At the meeting I had with him, the thing that struck me most was that he was concerned only with the players. It was his job to put (the poor state of cricket) right, and put it right he did. He was absolutely brilliant."

Another former Australian skipper, Bill Lawry, also paid tribute to the man, who was revered as one of the greatest business figures in Australian history.

"It's been a wonderful journey for me and this is a very sad day because Kerry Packer changed cricket forever and changed it for the better," Lawry said.

Players of both side's observed a minute's silence for Packer before the start of the second day's play at the MCG.

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