New Zealand news October 21, 2010

Hamish Bennett aims for more pace

ESPNcricinfo staff

The New Zealand fast bowler Hamish Bennett, who made his debut in the recent ODI series against Bangladesh, has said his next goal is to add more pace to his deliveries. Bennett, who played in two of the five ODIs and picked up three wickets at an average of 24.33 with an economy rate of 4.56, was happy with his first stint at the international level.

"I'm pretty happy to get three wickets," Bennett, who was stunned at his call-up, told the Timaru Herald. "I gave it everything I had, and I have no regrets over how I played."

Bennett, 23, made his first-class debut for Canterbury in 2005, and has been a steady performer for them with 24 one-day wickets at 37.29. But it was Bennett's ability to bowl in the mid-140 kph range that New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said would come in handy, should he prove himself at the international level.

Bennett said he had been given a license to bowl as fast as he could during his spells. "They [the coaches] said I would probably get a couple of games to see what I could do, and they told me to just to focus on my pace, and that's all I tried to do. I didn't worry about my economy rate; I just looked to bowl fast."

New Zealand were beaten 4-0 in the ODI series and the result plunged New Zealand to seventh in the ICC's ODI rankings, their lowest position since November 2005. New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) board will meet with Vettori, coach Mark Greatbatch and high performance director, Roger Mortimer on October 22 to review the tour. Bennett refused to comment on the possible fall-out from the tour but said the conditions and atmosphere of Bangladesh were challenging, especially for a debutant.

"I knew things weren't going to be easy, and you had to be mentally quite tough. You weren't going to bounce guys out, but if you ran-in hard and hit the deck, then you could get some variable bounce. They [the crowds] were pretty loud; even when they [Bangladesh] scored a run, it was like they had won the World Cup."

New Zealand now tour India for a Test and ODI series, and Bennett said he was hopeful of being picked for the tour. But should he not make the cut, Bennett said, he would look to play a pivotal role with Canterbury in the domestic season.

"I think that's why people play cricket, so they can lead by example, and if I can do that with my performances for Canterbury, then that would be great, but I'll be happy with whatever role the Canterbury coaches give me."