Dale Martin Benkenstein
June 09, 1974, Salisbury (now Harare), Rhodesia
Right hand bat
Right arm medium, Right arm offbreak
Dale Martin Benkenstein, born in Zimbabwe but educated at Michaelhouse in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, comes from a serious cricketing family. His father Martin represented Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe); his brothers Brett and Boyd both played for Natal B, but it was Dale who first played for and captained both Natal Schools and South African Schools before making his debut for Natal in 1993-94 and the national team in 1998. At an early stage Dale showed his captaincy skills and was at one stage earmarked as the successor to Hansie Cronje as South Africa captain. Benkenstein played 23 ODIs, the last against Bangladesh in Benoni in 2002, but was never a regular member of the national side and for some reason was never selected to play Test cricket. Dale agrees that he never took advantage of the chances that did come his way.
Wrongly regarded as solely a one-day specialist for a time, Benkenstein has scored close to 10,000 limited-overs runs and has one hundred as a middle order batsman. He is also more than useful with the ball as a third change bowler.
His first-class career speaks volumes for his ability. He has scored over 15,000 runs at an average around 45. He also boasts over 100 wickets with his seamers and has the reputation of being a partnership breaker.
Having captained Natal and the Dolphins, Benkenstein was made Durham's captain for the 2006 season. He had arrived at the county the season before, after Durham had finished bottom of the Championship for the fifth time in their 13 years as a first-class county. Benkenstein's arrival was an important factor in Durham's coming of age, and in 2007 they won the Friends Provident Trophy and were runners-up in the Championship - and Benkenstein ceased to be a Kolpak as he acquired a British passport. In 2008, the Championship was won for the first time after an innings victory over Kent.
Benkenstein stepped down as captain at the end of that season, handing the reins over to Will Smith, but remained as a valuable member of the side in all three formats and was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2009. His 2011 season was the most productive of his career in England, yielding 1,366 runs at 59.39, including four centuries and a further nine half-centuries. He became Durham's all-time highest run-scorer having overtaken Jon Lewis's mark of 7,854 during the 2011 season. He is married to Jacquiline and enjoys golf and fishing when not on the cricket field.
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