Benny Alexander Cameron Howell
October 05, 1988, Bordeaux, France
Right hand Bat
Right arm Medium
Benny Howell began his career as an opening batter for Hampshire before forging his reputation as a uniquely innovative short-format bowler and explosive middle-order batter. Having adapted bowling techniques borrowed from baseball pitchers, he has been variously described as a mystery seamer, slower-ball specialist, and fast spinner.
Born in Bordeaux, educated at the Oratory School in Berkshire, and with Australian and UK passports, Howell was on Hampshire's books for several years before his first-team debut in limited-overs cricket in 2010. He travelled with the county's side to the Caribbean T20 in January 2011 and made his first-class debut against Lancashire later that summer, scoring 71 in the second innings. But after that one game, and 26 limited-overs ones, he was released at the end of the 2011 season.
In 2012 he successfully restarted his career with Gloucestershire, and made his 2nd XI debut in April that year with a double-hundred against Surrey, which earned him an immediate first-team debut. He contributed nearly 600 runs in his first season and took 30 wickets. Three years on, Howell posted a gritty maiden Championship hundred against Leicestershire at the Cheltenham Festival, and his three wickets the same season helped turn a Royal London Cup semi-final against Yorkshire. Gloucestershire subsequently netted their first tournament trophy since 2004. He topped the wicket-takers' chart in the 2016 Blast with 24 dismissals at an economy of 6.87, and Gloucestershire rewarded him with a three-year contract. Championship opportunities were rare, however, and Howell became known as a T20 specialist, though he did produce 163 opening against Glamorgan in his first game of the 2017 season.
Howell became the first English professional to sign up for the Bangladesh Premier League, in 2016, and stints in the BBL and PSL followed. He was signed by Birmingham Phoenix for the inaugural Hundred, where he picked up 11 wickets, the second most in the tournament, as Phoenix finished runners-up. An England call-up has continued to elude him, however, with his slower balls being deemed too samey to be effective. In 2022, he rejoined Hampshire on a three-year contract.
Batting & Fielding