Globetrotter Ben enjoying his ride on the T20 bandwagon
BENNY Howell is heading to Bangladesh on Sunday – for the first leg of what he hope will be a winter of discovery.
The close season has changed beyond all recognition since Howell began his career. And with another five months before Gloucestershire resume battle in Division Two of the County Championship, Howell is looking to collect more stamps on his T20 passport before heading back home.
It’s Howell’s second stint in Bangladesh and, after impressing again for Gloucestershire in last season’s T20 Blast, he’s hoping that a series of decent performances on the Sub-continent will open doors elsewhere.
The all-rounder spent the early part of his 2016 stint with the Khulna Titans kicking his heels but after being given his opportunity he took it with both hands. A repeat performance this winter could see a number of other franchises across the globe sit up and take notice.
“It was different from what I expected,” he tells The Cricket Paper. “It was my first experience of franchise cricket but after two weeks of not really playing any cricket and having to tell security if you did have plans to go out, hours in advance, I got a bit of cabin fever. After starting to play, though, I loved it, the cricket was great.
“At the moment I’m waiting on two teams in the T20 in New Zealand and if that doesn’t work out I’m heading to Australia as my family are over there anyway. Then I’ll look to get on the replacement list for the Big Bash.”
Given that Howell’s dad works a stone’s throw from the MCG, Howell already has plans in place for Boxing Day, namely watching England against the country of his mum’s birth hopefully continuing to keep their Ashes dream alive.
That may or may not be the case but what’s undeniable is that Howell will return to a county before the start of next season that is still very much a work in progress.
A disappointing season across all three formats left the county pondering where it had gone wrong, particularly in the T20 Blast where they finished bottom of the South Group.
Admittedly weather played a part, with three of the county’s first five games suffering as a result of the rain. That, though, couldn’t cloud another poor showing from Richard Dawson’s side.
“Team-wise things didn’t go well,” he says. “Things have got to change at Gloucestershire, the way we go about things. That was very frustrating, I think a lot of the boys felt the same way.
"Personally I’m pleased that I backed up my performances with the ball in the T20 again. I didn’t take too many wickets but had the lowest economy rate which was pleasing because that’s always my aim.
“I did okay in the one-day and didn’t get much of a run-out in the four-day until right at the end. But hopefully everything is looking good for next year.”
With a winter of globetrotting behind him, Howell now hopes that Gloucestershire can also go places. Across all three formats.