Nigel Bennett 1912-2008

Former Surrey captain Bennett dies aged 95

Martin Williamson

August 3, 2008

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Nigel Bennett, who captained Surrey in 1946, has died at the age of 95.

Bennett's one summer in first-class cricket is shrouded in confusion and his appointment for the first post-war season was generally assumed to have been a case of mistaken identity. Legend goes that the intention had been to offer the position to Major Leo Bennett, a well-known amateur, but Nigel Bennett, whose only regular cricket was some club games before the war, accepted before the error came to light. Given that his appointment was announced in February, giving the committee almost three months to realise their mistake, this seems unlikely.

The outcome was sadly inevitable. Wisden reflected that "want of knowledge on the field presented an unconquerable hindrance to the satisfactory accomplishment of the Major's arduous duties... which prejudiced the general work of the side." Surrey slumped to 11th, their worst finish ever, and at the end of the season Bennett departed back the anonymity from where he came.

Bennett had spent two years in the Stowe XI and topped the averages in 1930, but otherwise he was almost unknown when picked.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo

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Martin Williamson Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.
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