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Umpire Mark Benson retires from ICC elite panel

Mark Benson
Benson played one Test for England, against India in 1986

Leading English umpire Mark Benson has retired from the International Cricket Council's elite panel.

The 51-year-old has asked for an early release from his ICC contract and will return to England to umpire on the county circuit.

In December, Benson withdrew from the second Test between Australia and West Indies after the first day because of ill health.

"I feel now is the right time for me to step down," said Benson.

Benson, who was named on the ICC elite panel in 2006, has umpired a total of 27 Tests, 72 one-day internationals and 19 Twenty20 internationals and stood in the final of the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 final in 2007.

But in 2006 he suffered heart palpitations during a Test in Durban and high blood pressure and stomach problems forced him out of the first four matches of Australia's one-day series in India at the end of October.

And in December last year, he pulled out of the second Test between Australia and West Indies, afterwards denying that he had quit because he was unhappy with the new umpire review system.


"I have enjoyed my time on the elite panel immensely," said Benson, a former Kent professional who made one England Test appearance in 1986.

"The opportunity to be part of the global game has given me memories that I will always treasure. But travel and being away from home takes its toll on the family and some warning bells have started to ring regarding my health.

"So, having thought about it carefully, I feel now is the right time for me to step down and move to a more settled and familiar environment in England.

"I'd like to thank the ICC and my umpiring colleagues on the elite panel for their support over the years.

"Umpiring at the top level has been a very rewarding experience for me and it is not an easy decision to walk away from it but I believe it is the right one as far as my health and family are concerned.

"I also want to thank the ECB for giving me the opportunity to be part of the county circuit again.

"I'm looking forward to the new season as much as I did when I played, and hope that I can add value with my international experience as an ICC elite umpire."

Benson's contribution to the ICC elite panel was acknowledged by ICC umpires' and referees' manager Vince van der Bijl.

"Mark's immense love for and enjoyment of cricket shines through his umpiring," he said. "His on-field calm demeanour will be missed, as will his friendly and easygoing disposition.

"We fully understand and support his decision, which was brought on by a desire to spend more time in England with his family and some concerns about health issues.

"He will add richly to the county circuit as he is a talented and hugely experienced umpire and we wish him great success."

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see also
Benson quit because of ill health
08 Dec 09 |  Cricket
Benson recovers after heart scare
30 Dec 06 |  Cricket

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