The move comes after a thorough process from Lancashire, which eventually saw Benkenstein emerge as their preferred candidate. The South African had previously worked at the club as a consultant batting coach during the 2021 season, a role he also fulfilled with the Proteas between 2017 and 2019.
His first head coach job came at Hampshire, leading the club to promotion to Division One in 2014 and two Vitality Blast Finals Day appearances. However, his tenure at Gloucestershire was far less successful, winning just two County Championship matches out of 28 across the 2022 and 2023 seasons, which included going winless in the latter. He is also assistant coach at Pretoria Capitals in the SA20.
As a player, he was capped 23 times by South Africa in ODIs, and went on to become a stalwart at Durham, leading the club to successive County titles in 2008 and 2009. His son, Luc, plays for Essex and has been included in England’s squad for next month’s Under-19 World Cup.
Other names linked to the Lancashire job were Sri Lanka’s Chris Silverwood and Afghanistan’s Jonathan Trott, both of whom remain under contract with their respective boards. Lancashire assistant head coach Carl Crowe was also in the mix.
“I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to become Head Coach of Lancashire Cricket,” said Benkenstein in a statement on Wednesday. “It is a county with a proud history and tradition and it’s an exciting time to be joining the club.
“Lancashire is a county that I’ve always admired for doing things the right way and has always produced teams that are resilient and difficult to beat. It is a hugely talented group of players to work with and I am really excited to be part of that and to bring my own vision to Emirates Old Trafford.
“It’s a new challenge for me personally and one which I can’t wait to get stuck into. I am looking forward to meeting the players and staff in the new year and continuing the squad’s preparations ahead of the upcoming campaign.”
Director of Cricket Performance Mark Chilton added: “We are delighted to secure Dale as our new men’s head coach. He joins us with a wealth of experience and knowledge, and I believe Dale is the right person to move us forward and into our next chapter.
“He is a fantastic fit for what we’re trying to achieve, has demonstrable leadership ability, a strong record of developing and nurturing young, talented players to fulfil their potential and has also been part of winning teams, particularly at Durham and Hampshire.
“I am looking forward to working with Dale and welcoming him to Emirates Old Trafford in the new year, as we continue to build on the foundations that have been laid in recent years with an exciting group of players.”
Benkenstein’s appointment has ramifications elsewhere. Gloucestershire will now have to revamp their coaching set-up, having already lost bowling coach Robbie Joseph to Kent last week. It comes after the club confirmed they are exploring options to sell the County Ground in Bristol following a £500,000 loss last year.
“Dale has worked hard throughout a challenging couple of years to create a new structure within the cricket department and to develop our squad of talented players, ” said Gloucestershire chief executive Will Brown. “We thank him for his efforts.
“With Dale’s departure we will now start the process of recruiting for a head coach; allowing us to review and reset the requirements of the club moving into the New Year.
Glamorgan were also considering Benkenstein for their vacant head coach role, but are expected to be in a position to announce someone before Christmas. Somerset assistant coach Paul Tweddle and Nottinghamshire assistant coach Paul Franks are understood to be in the reckoning for the post, which has been consolidated to a single role after Matthew Maynard and Mark Alleyene held the red- and white-ball roles, respectively.