Smith named Durham skipper
LV County Champions Durham have announced Will Smith has taken over the captaincy from Dale Benkenstein, who recommended him.
Smith accepted the role offered to him by head coach Geoff Cook yesterday when the county revealed a host of their players had signed new contracts.
The 26-year-old’s promotion comes after only two seasons at the Riverside after he joined from Nottinghamshire in 2007.
The former Durham UCCE and British Universities batsman was named the county’s 2008 player of the year, having averaged over 50 in the LV County Championship. He notched up three centuries including a career best 201 not out against Surrey at Guildford.
Smith said: “I am delighted and honoured to be taking over as captain of Durham CCC. The county has a proud tradition and to follow, amongst others, David Graveney, David Boon, Jon Lewis, Mike Hussey and of course Dale in captaining the side fills me with pride and excitement at the challenges that lie ahead.”
“Having tasted the historic success of the past two seasons, I am determined to see that the club continue to make similar strides on the field, and I will do everything possible to ensure that the 2009 season picks up where 2008 left off.”
Cook added: “Will is a great chap with a great cricketing mind who is committed to the club and I’m sure that his previous captaining experience, in addition to the support of the senior players in the squad, will prove to be invaluable as he takes on this new challenge.
“We obviously took Dale’s recommendation very seriously and look forward to starting the new season with Will as captain.
“Dale has been an excellent leader, bringing home three trophies in the past two seasons, as well as playing an integral role in developing the younger members of the squad, which he will continue to do for the next few years. We would like to thank him for his dedication and commitment to the club.”
Benkenstein said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed captaining Durham for the past three years but I really felt like the time was right to pass on the reigns and I think Will is the best possible candidate to take over.
“I’ve always known Durham as being a club that wants to continue moving forward and this is definitely a positive move for us. I’m sure there are plenty more good times ahead and I’m looking forward to focusing on my performances on the pitch.”