Thursday, 23 June 2016
In praise of.....Benny the bowler
French cricketers. There aren't too many of them. That technique of standing square on to the bowler, feet glued together using a tennis racket to flick your little sister's underarm deliveries has never been an ideal breeding ground for high class county cricketers. Benny Howell is the exception.
In the T20 Blast Benny currently sits second in the bowling tables for wickets taken, with only Worcestershire's Joe Leach ahead of him. Benny has 12 wickets with an economy of 7 runs an over. That is really good. Leach in comparison has 14 wickets that cost 9 runs an over. Dale Steyn has 9 wickets that cost 6.5 runs an over. Michael Hogan has the same. Admittedly these last two have played a couple of games less than Benny.
Nor is this a fluke. In 2013 he took 10 wickets. In 2014, 15. In 2015 he struck out 17 batsmen. That is a year on year increase that has reflected his increasing importance to Gloucestershire's one day side. In none of those seasons has he ever gone for more than 7.25 runs an over. He has also scored some useful runs in the lower order.
In last season's 50 Royal London one day cup Benny took 15 wickets at a strike rate of a wicket every 34 balls and an economy rate of just below 5 runs an over.
From being very much a bits-and-pieces cricketer, Benny has become a vital cog in the Gloucestershire attack and a man who has become trusted to always perform at the crucial point. He has managed this whilst trundling in off about 10 paces and rolling down deliveries at a very innocuous pace. A shrewd cricketing brain combined with a fine repertoire of slower balls and cutters has not only saved him from being savaged, but has proved that all types of bowlers can prosper in the T20 format.
Keep up the good work Benny, and feel free to tweet this post!!