When Canterbury pace man Hamish Bennett was told about two years ago that he would have to retire or have major back surgery – the feisty 26-year-old knew instantly which option he’d go for.
This week he was rewarded for all the trials and tribulations he had to endure when he was recalled into the BLACKCAPS squad for the remainder of the ANZ One Day International Series.
“There were times spent on the bed steering at the roof thinking if I’d ever get the chance to play cricket again," says Bennett, who replaces Adam Milne after he tore an abdominal muscle in Sunday’s victory over India.
The right-armer spent three months lying in bed after the back surgery which involved removing a stress fracture in his back by taking some bone from his hip and putting it into his spine.
Since then he is pleased to have had a pretty good run with injury allowing him to be the top wicket-taker in this season's Plunket Shield four-day competition.
“If you have the chance to play consistent cricket you obviously have the chance to put some consistent results on the board.”
Bennett, who last played an ODI for his country in March 2011 against Sri Lanka in Mumbai, was still coming to terms with his call-up when he joined the BLACKCAPS at training in Hamilton today.
He says he’s rapt with the selection and excited about the chance to express himself in the current BLACKCAPS environment.
"What I’ve being trying to do is find some good rhythm … and put the ball in the right area. Sometimes you can carried away with speed.”
Bennett had to change his bowling action after the operation but is happy with the cricket he’s had under his belt with Canterbury compared with when he made his debut for New Zealand.
“I’m excited to have an opportunity … and to play the number one ranked team in ODI cricket with that batting line-up.”