Dale Benkenstein’s 10-year association with Durham has ended after the club granted his request to be released from his contract for this season so he could retire from playing and become Hampshire’s first team coach.
The 39-year-old former South Africa batting-all-rounder has represented the county since 2005, captaining them to their first major silverware and their maiden County Championship title.
Benkenstein led Durham to Friends Provident Trophy glory in 2007 and to the championship crown the next year. He was in the ranks for the 2009 and 2013 championship triumphs.
The right-handed batsman is Durham’s leading scorer with 9,055 of his 15,962 first-class runs at an impressive average of 44.21 coming for the county. Benkenstein’s handy off-spin and seam bowling offered other dimensions to his game.
He has spent the winter in South Africa recuperating from a serious shoulder operation, which kept him out of the majority of last domestic season. During this time Benkenstein opted to pursue a career in coaching and has been working as batting coach for South African side Sunfoil Dolphins.
With no immediate opportunities at Durham, he requested that he be released from his contract in order to pursue the role with Hampshire. Durham reluctantly agreed to this. He will join Hampshire in time for their pre-season tour of Barbados.
Durham chief executive David Harker said: "Dale has been a tremendous servant of Durham CCC and is regarded very much as part of the Durham family, therefore, although sad to see him leave we recognise the importance of a move both to Dale and his family and wish him every success in his future career development."
Benkenstein, whose international experience amounted to 23 one-day internationals from 1998 to 2002, said: "I have enjoyed being part of the Durham story and the success we have achieved. I would like to express my thanks to Durham CCC for my release to pursue a coaching career."
Speaking of his move to Hampshire, Benkenstein added: "I'm looking forward to what is going to be a new challenge for me. It's a brilliant set-up here. I've spoken to the players and coaches at the club and I'm excited about what's ahead.
"I've really enjoyed my time in South-Africa during the winter and it's made me look forward to coaching here at Hampshire with what is an exciting squad of players and hopefully we can have an excellent season."
Hampshire director of cricket Giles White said: "We are delighted to have Dale on board. He comes with a wealth of experience and an excellent reputation as a leader. We are looking forward to his involvement."