County news February 13, 2014

Benkenstein appointed as Hampshire coach

ESPNcricinfo staff

Hampshire have appointed Dale Benkenstein, the former Durham captain, as their new first team coach. He will join Hampshire in time for the pre season tour to Barbados.

The announcement ends Hampshire's three-month search for a coach after Giles White's role as director of cricket became more distant from day-to-day first-team affairs.

Benkenstein, 39, has spent the English winter working as a batting coach for the South-African side Sunfoil Dolphins - the club of Hampshire's overseas signing, Kyle Abbott - who won the Ram Slam Challenge last week.

He also had an operation on a serious shoulder operation which kept him out of most of Durham's 2013 season and which has now contributed to the end of his career.

Durham had no wish to stand in Benkenstein's way as he gained a coaching opportunity he had long planned for, but his departure has aggravated their concern about the small squad they will take into the season as they defend their Championship title. They are already braced for losing Ben Stokes for most of the season after he made such an impact for England in Australia.

Benkenstein was regarded by some as an eventual successor to Geoff Cook as coach of Durham. But when Cook suffered a heart attack last season, Benkenstein was absent in South Africa and Jon Lewis supervised Durham's charge to the title. When Cook was reshuffled into an Academy role late last year, Lewis was appointed as his successor.

Benkenstein carries a wealth of first-class experience, with 300 List A and 264 first-class appearances to his name. Since making his debut for Durham in April 2005, he scored more than 9,000 first-class runs at an average of 45.9.

He led Durham to their first major title - against a Hampshire side led by Shane Warne - when they won the Friends Provident final at Lord's in 2007. He also skippered Durham to their first two Championship titles in the consecutive seasons that followed.

"I'm looking forward to what is going to be a new challenge for me," he said. "It's a brilliant set up here. I've spoken to the players and coaches at the club and I'm excited about what's ahead."

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