Thursday, February 29, 2024

Benn ‘a warrior and champ’


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SULIEMAN?BENN is tall and he stands out. Always in the game, he stood large and in charge during Barbados’ unbeaten run in the recent NAGICO Super50 tournament in Trinidad and Tobago.
The beanpole left-arm spinner played a significant role in all of the team’s victories. Off the field, he played a significant role in planning strategy and also gave maximum support to rookie captain Kevin Stoute.
After Barbados defeated Trinidad and Tobago in last Saturday’s final at Queen’s Park Oval, there was a special dedication to the combative 32-year-old Benn, who has encountered his share of highs and lows in his career. Captain Kevin Stoute hailed him as “a warrior and a champion” while MVP Dwayne Smith said “he’s a great man in this team”.
Benn ended the tournament as the second highest wicket-taker. He collected nine wickets at 13.55 runs per wicket. His best bowling was an impressive four for 39 against Trinidad and Tobago when the Bajans laid down the gauntlet in their opening match. He also made a vital 22 not out off 18 balls in the final as Barbados won by 17 runs.
“I want to say special congratulations to Sulieman Benn. I don’t think there is anyone in our dressingroom who wanted this title more than Benn. He spoke about it and he went out and gave his all to win it. He put in his work and was an inspiration,” said Stoute.
“If you watch him on TV you would say he’s ‘miserable’ but that is the way he plays his cricket. He always shows his passion. He plays it very hard, he always plays to win and he expects the best from everybody around him. We couldn’t ask for anymore from him.”
Smith had an outstanding tournament and was the leading run scorer. He also took home the MVP award and was voted Man Of The Match in the final for his blazing 83. He has played alongside Benn for a decade and knows him quite well. Benn had a stint in international cricket when he was West Indies first-choice spinner and played 17 Tests, 25 ODIs and 17 T20s between 2008 and 2011.  “We have about three or four guys in the team who got a little pressure from home so it was really good to see us come and put in the work and help Barbados get this trophy. It is good to let everyone know that we still have it in us to win matches and tournaments for our country,” Smith said.
“Benn will be Benn and we appreciate him for what he brings to the team. He was really good in this tournament. He helped with the planning before we went onto the field and when we got onto the field he just did the business. He played a key role from start to finish.”
Benn’s last match for the West Indies senior team was against India in the 2011 ICC World Cup at Chennai. He is the only member of that squad not to have represented the senior team since that tournament.


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