For a self confessed country boy the opportunity to tour Bangladesh with the BLACKCAPS came as a big surprise. But Canterbury paceman Hamish Bennett is looking forward to challenges the sub-continent brings.
Last week the 23 year old received the call from BLACKCAPS coach Mark Greatbatch telling him he was in the side. “I was pretty shocked!” Bennett told www.blackcaps.co.nz. “It was a good feeling. I couldn’t really believe it and it’s taken a while to sink in.”
The right arm fast bowler departs with the team next week and he is looking forward to playing along side some of his “role models” and making the most of the challenges ahead. “My goal is to get in there and get to know the environment. When you are given an opportunity you have to make the most of it.”
Although he is one of the youngest in the team he’s looking forward to learning a lot from the likes of BLACKCAPS captain and stalwart Daniel Vettori who has been part of the international side for 12 years. “I’m looking forward to playing with those more senior guys like Dan and Kyle Mills and Brendon McCullum and to learn off them and see what it takes to get to the level they are at,” he said.
Bennett has already had some experience in the subcontinent as part of the New Zealand Under 19 Cricket World Cup side to tour Sri Lanka in 2006 and visited India with Tim Southee to work along side cricketing great Dennis Lilly in 2007. “When we were in Sri Lanka the pitches were a mixed bag, some were green, others bounced, but when we were in India we had a better idea of subcontinent pitch conditions,” he explained. “The environment is also different. When we were in Chennai it was a bit of a reality check.”
He may be a new name to the international scene; however he’s been a regular player on the New Zealand domestic scene for the Canterbury Wizards. It has always been a dream of Bennett’s to play for Canterbury and then for the BLACKCAPS. He’s also received a lot of support from friends, family and Canterbury team mates regarding his selection. “I’ve been training with some of the Canterbury boys and they have been great wishing me the best for the tour.”
He’s also had a chat with current Canterbury Wizards coach Bob Carter, who also has experience on the international scene. “Bob was the assistant coach of the BLACKCAPS for a while, so I’ve been getting some inside knowledge from him,” he said.
Canterbury has been known for producing outstanding international cricketers and although the international team has been scarce of red and black players for the last few seasons, Bennett is pleased to be able to bolster the numbers. “10 years ago the BLACKCAPS were full of Canterbury players so it’s nice to be part of the side.”
For now he is preparing hard for his departure next week, but he said he couldn’t have done it without all the support. “I just want to say thank you to everyone for their support and hopefully I can pay my dividends in Bangladesh,” he concluded.
Hamish Bennett - Fast Facts
- Born and bred in Timaru, South Canterbury
- Born February 22 1987 (23 years old)
- Started playing cricket at age six
- Has played representative cricket since primary school
- First class debut v Wellington Firebirds 2005/06
- Career highlights include:
- Being selected for Canterbury.
- “I have strong emotions towards the province”.
- being named four-day man of the match against Wellington, taking 7/50
- winning tight games for Canterbury
- In his spare time he enjoys playing Playstation and catching up with friends
- He has double jointed thumbs.