In what comes as tragic news, former England, Warwickshire, and Surrey pacer Joey Benjamin has passed away at the age of 60 due to cardiac arrest.
Benjamin, who represented England in one Test- vs South Africa in 1994- was one of the renowned bowlers in the county circuit in the 1990s. He claimed as many as 387 First-Class wickets in a career that spanned over 11 years.
Born in St. Kitts in 1960, Benjamin and his family moved to England when he was 15. He earned his initial recognition while playing in Birmingham League Cricket and it wasn’t until the age of 27 when he earned his maiden county contract with Warwickshire.
However, due to lack of game time- 25 First-Class games in four years- he moved to Surrey in 1992.
Blessed with a bustling action and a twirl of arms at the delivery stride, Joey Benjamin found success in his second year where he was adjudged Surrey’s Cricketer of the Year for claiming 64 wickets at 27.85.
In 1994, he went one step ahead and claimed 80 wickets at an average of 20.72, eventually earning the elusive English cap at the age of 33 when he was included in the side in place of Angus Fraser for a Test match against South Africa.
He claimed 4/42 in the first innings and backed it up with a match-winning 9-57 in the second to set-up a memorable victory for the home side.
Benjamin was then included for the Winter’s Ashes. However, he succumbed to Chicken Pox in the lead-up to the first Test in Brisbane and was never considered again.
Following his untimely death, tributes have poured in for Joey Benjamin.
“I’ve known Joey for 25 years and have gloried in his triumphs. I particularly remember the final Test at The Oval in 1994, where his performance earned him an Ashes tour. It was a long time coming as anyone who watched him bowl that season would testify,” wrote Surrey’s chairman Richard Thompson.
“Everything he did was with a smile and grace. He wore the brown cap very proudly with absolute distinction and will be long remembered at Surrey County Cricket Club. He has been taken too soon.” the statement added.
We're saddened to learn of the death of former England seamer Joey Benjamin, who has died at the age of 60.
Our thoughts are with Joey's family and friends at this time.
— England and Wales Cricket Board (@ECB_cricket) March 9, 2021
“It is with great sadness that today Warwickshire County Cricket Club has learned of the passing of former fast bowler Joey Benjamin. The thoughts of everyone at Warwickshire CCC are with Joey’s family and close friends at this difficult time.” A Warwickshire statement read.
Joey Benjamin – 1961-2021
It is with great sadness that today Warwickshire County Cricket Club has learned of the passing of former fast bowler Joey Benjamin.
— Warwickshire CCC 🏏 (@WarwickshireCCC) March 9, 2021
“The ECB is saddened to learn of the death of former England bowler Joey Benjamin at the age of 60. Our thoughts are with Joey’s friends and family.” the ECB said in a statement.