A key component of Durham’s team since his arrival in the north east in 2005, Benkenstein became the club’s record first-class run-scorer in 2011.
In surpassing Jon Lewis’ tally of 7,854 runs, Benkenstein, an elegant right-hander capable of dominating opposition attacks, cemented his status as one of the leading players in Durham’s history.
While batting has always been his strongest suit, he is also a useful bowling option, his medium-pace having earned over 200 wickets in a career that began in 1993.
After representing South Africa in 23 one-day internationals, the Zimbabwe-born batsman moved to Chester-le-Street and secured the county’s player of the year award at the first attempt, as well as filling in as captain in the absence of Mike Hussey and Paul Collingwood.
Appointed as permanent skipper in 2006, he topped the club’s run-charts in four-day and 40-over cricket and his 151 against Yorkshire at Headingley at the end of the season proved crucial as Durham avoided championship relegation by half a point.
Benkenstein led the team to Friends Provident Trophy success the following year and a maiden championship crown was secured in 2008 under his leadership.
His own form dipped as Durham enjoyed their finest hour, but, after standing down from the captaincy ahead of the 2009 season, Benkenstein was soon back in the runs, scoring 1,155 runs, including six hundreds, to aid a second successive championship triumph.
After a modest 2010, Benkenstein took over the one-day captaincy at the Emirates Durham ICG and enjoyed another superb campaign, contributing almost 2,000 runs across all formats and overhauling Lewis’ record.