Benks’ backing for Carberry

Michael Carberry was out lbw. Picture: Neil Marshall
Michael Carberry was out lbw. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Dale Benkenstein is backing Michael Carberry to work his way through his early-season struggles.

The Test batsman was out lbw for a six-ball duck in the first over of the new domestic season – in his first competitive game since publicly criticising the England management over his treatment over the winter.

Carberry is keen to make an impression to stay in the selectors’ thoughts for this summer.

But he was unable to get the flying start to the campaign.

Benkenstein, the new Hampshire first XI coach, believes the England situation is not weighing on the batsman’s mind or affecting his performances.

Benkenstein said: ‘I don’t see it outwardly affecting him.

‘He is very relaxed. I felt he was quite tense coming into the Barbados trip but he was chilled out after that.

‘He’s obviously disappointed but he understands the game, he has played it for long enough.

‘He doesn’t seem to be too affected.

‘He realises it’s just another day in tough conditions when you get a fairly rough decision.

‘It’s the way the game goes. He seems fine.

‘As a batsman, you always know that the first five games are going to be really tough. Getting in is the tough part.

‘When you get a low score you’ve got to take your pads off and just hope the next innings goes your way.’

It says a lot for Carberry’s work ethic that he was straight into the nets for more practice after his dismissal, even if he was unhappy with the umpire’s decision.

Benkenstein said: ‘He’s gone back in the nets again.

‘He’s the ultimate professional and he’s always practising.

‘He felt he was a touch unlucky to be given out because it hit him quite high.

‘But that’s the way the game goes.

‘To start four-day cricket at the beginning of April was always going to be tough for the batters, especially in conditions like this.

‘So it’s about keeping everything in perspective.

‘The one thing about him, is that when he does get in, he definitely makes it count.’

It was clearly not the ideal start to the season for Hampshire as they laboured to 37 for three in eight overs of play.

But Benkenstein was pleased with skipper Jimmy Adams’ mentality as he breezed to 32 not out.

Benkenstein said: ‘It was top batting from Jimmy.

‘In those conditions, you can go into your shell and just try to get through the new ball.

‘But he pounced on anything that was loose, got his feet going and was really positive.

‘It was definitely the way to play.

‘He’s been in really good form in pre-season and when you are in that frame of mind, it looks like the bowlers keep bowling bad balls to you.

‘But it’s the confidence and the positive nature he had out there that created that.

‘As a team, we bat low down but it’s about getting that one partnership - whether it comes at the front or for the seventh or eighth wicket, it doesn’t matter.

‘One partnership can be the difference in a game.

‘It would have been nice to have won the toss and had a bowl.

‘But Worcestershire bowled quite well and it’s set up to be a good game.’