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Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Wednesday, 17 September 2008 12:22 UK

Smith gets Worcestershire benefit

Ben Smith
Smith should prove a popular beneficiary at New Road in 2009

Batsman Ben Smith has been awarded a benefit by Worcestershire in 2009.

The 36-year-old former captain, who last month signed a new deal to stay on at New Road in a player-coach role, first joined the county in 2002.

He became skipper in April 2003, only to resign the captaincy in the middle of a match after 17 months at the helm.

But he has proved a popular player, as best illustrated by the fact that the idea to award him a benefit came originally from Worcestershire members.

Worcestershire chief executive Mark Newton said: "Once we had received the request from some members to consider awarding Ben a benefit year, it took no time at all to agree.

"Ben is a wonderful professional cricketer who is still at the top of his game.

"He has just signed for a further two years and we hope our members and supporters will help Ben make a success of the year."

Since joining Worcestershire in 2002 I've had some brilliant times

Ben Smith
Smith made his debut in county cricket with Leicestershire in 1990, being capped in 1996. But he gave up the chance of a benefit at Grace Road, as well as the prospect of the Leicestershire captaincy, when he made the move to New Road in 2002.

And, having scored over 28,000 runs in all cricket, with a first-class average of over 40, he has already laid the foundations to continue in the game when he does eventually pack in.

For now, Smith is happy simply to have been paid the ultimate honour to any county cricket stalwart.

"I am delighted that the club have awarded me a benefit year for 2009," said Smith. "Since joining Worcestershire in 2002 I've had some brilliant times and have thoroughly enjoyed making contributions to the team on and off the field.

"I now look forward to an exciting year ahead based around the Ashes and a Twenty 20 World Cup whilst aiming for more successes with the team and club."

see also
Smith signs dual deal at New Road
21 Aug 08 |  Worcestershire
Smith and Hick enter record books
08 Jun 06 |  Counties
Smith extends Worcestershire deal
23 Jun 05 |  Worcestershire
Smith quits Worcs captaincy
13 Aug 04 |  Counties
Smith relishes Worcs leadership
01 Apr 03 |  Worcestershire
Smith leads Worcestershire
15 Nov 02 |  Worcestershire
Smith switches counties
19 Oct 01 |  Leicestershire

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