WILL Smith believes Dale Benkenstein’s move to Hampshire as first-team coach is “a match made in heaven”.
Benkenstein is the second County Championship-winning Durham captain Hampshire have signed since the end of last season Batsman Smith, who led Durham to a successful defence of the historic title they won under Benkenstein in 2008, is delighted to be reunited with his former teammate after signing in October.
He said: “When Giles [White] mentioned it to me as a possibility last week I was over the moon, Dale’s someone I’ve spent a lot of time with on and off the field and there’s no better man in the county game.
“I can’t think of a better person to do the job he’s got, he’s a good man through and through, I’m really excited to be working with him again.
“He’s very well respected within the game and has so much experience. Coaches have to do lots of qualifications to get to a certain level and there are a lot of things right about that but there are some people who stand out as future coaches and managers and he’s definitely one of them.
“Having known him as a player I’ve never thought of him as anything else, but when I think about it all the attributes that made him such a great player and captain will make him an excellent coach.
“He’s a lovely bloke and very down to earth but also a very tough man who expects high standards of himself and will want other people to set similarly high standards. “That’s something that always stood out at Durham. We had a great time under his leadership, especially in four-day cricket.
“He was a huge part in my development.” Since finalising his move to Hampshire, Benkenstein has returned to South Africa, where he helped the Sunfoil Dolphins qualify for the T20 Champions League by winning the Ram Slam Challenge last Sunday. “Now he’s won the T20 in South Africa and is coming to a club that’s had so much one-day success recently, it’s a match made in heaven,” added Smith, whose family have moved south to join him in Locks Heath this week.