Mark Richard Benson
(born 6 July 1958) is a former
now an ICC Elite Panel cricket umpire
- he played for England in one
and one One Day International
born in Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, England.
educated at Sutton
Valence school in Kent and worked
for a time as a marketing assistant for Shell.
He then took up full time
cricket with Kent
Benson made his first-class debut as a left-handed opening batsman
in 1980 and was virtually an "ever-present" in the Kent side for
the next fifteen seasons scoring over 18,000 runs (48 centuries)
for the county. He was Kent's third highest aggregate run scorer in
the post-war era and his batting average of 40.27 was the fourth
highest for a major batsman in Kent's history (after Les Ames
and Colin Cowdrey
scored 1,000 runs in a season 12 times, with a best of 1,725 runs
(average 44.23) in 1987. Benson played 268 One Day matches (5
centuries, 53 fifties, 6 "man of the match" awards) for Kent
scoring 7814 runs at an average of 31.89.
For the 1991 Benson was appointed captain of Kent and on his first
day as captain he scored a career best 257 against Hampshire
. Under his captaincy
Kent were runners-up in the County Championship in 1992, Sunday
league champions in 1995 (runners up in 1993) and Benson and Hedges
Cup finalists in 1995. At the end of the 1995 season Benson was
forced to retire due to a knee injury.
In 1986 Benson played one Test Match
Overall, Benson scored a century every 10.23 innings, the third
highest rate for Kent, including a century in each innings v
Warwickshire in 1993. Benson and Neil
scored the highest opening partnership (300) for Kent v
Derbyshire in 1991. Brian Luckhurst
named Benson as Kent's greatest post war opening batsmen and
referred to him as "His generation's unsung hero."
After retiring from playing Benson became an umpire, making his
first-class umpiring debut in 1997 and standing in international
matches for the first time in 2004. He stood in eight matches in
the 2007 Cricket World Cup. In September 2007 he was nominated for
the ICC Umpire of the Year Award after just one full season on the
In April 2006, having stood in eight Tests and twenty-four one-day
internationals, Benson became one of three umpires promoted from
the Emirates International Panel of
to the Emirates Elite Panel of Umpires
. He also
stood in the 2007 World Twenty 20
final in Johannesburg, South Africa.
umpiring the second Test between South Africa and India at Durban on 28
December 2006 Benson had to leave the field, after suffering from
In September 2008 Benson was nominated for the ICC Umpire of the
Year award for the second consecutive year.
Benson's career as an umpire has been largely without controversy
prior to the Sydney
Test between Australia and India
in January 2008. A series of
umpiring decisions went against India in the context of a match
which was only lost narrowly; Chetan
, India's team manager "said his players were "agitated
and upset" [by the] "incompetent umpires here"... [and hoped] "that
they will not officiate again in the series."
Much of the criticism attached to Steve
but Benson "who had a good match in Melbourne, [the
previous Test] made a number of errors of his own. Bucknor was
officially replaced for the 3rd Test at Perth by Billy Bowden
. Benson was never scheduled to
umpire in the 3rd Test with Asad Rauf
taking his place.
Benson also made history in the 1st Test in Sri Lanka, being the
first umpire to be asked to refer a decision. When Tillakaratne
Dilshan asked for the umpire Mark Benson's decision to give him out
caught behind to be reviewed, the English official changed his
verdict when the television replay umpire Rudi Koertzen could not
say conclusively that the ball had hit his bat or the ground on the
way through to the Indian wicketkeeper.
Umpiring career statistics
||Bangladesh v New Zealand at Dhaka, Oct 2004
||New Zealand v West Indies at Dunedin, Dec 2008
||England v West Indies at Nottingham, Jun 2004
||New Zealand v West Indies at Napier, Jan 2009
||South Africa v West Indies at Johannesburg, Sep 2007
||Pakistan v Sri Lanka at King City, Oct 2008