Born on 15th March, 1983 in Tasmania, Ben Hilfenhaus story started with laying bricks at a construction site, and eventually featured him sharing the new ball for the country’s Test team.
The burly fast bowler’s life changed for the better when he was awarded a scholarship by the Commonwealth Bank cricket academy. He left no stone unturned in converting this opportunity to gold and was eventually awarded a rookie contract in 2002-03.
With some eye-catching performances, he quickly made his way into the Tasmanian side for the Pura Cup, which is what the Sheffield Shield was then called.
Hilfenhaus picked up an astonishing 60 wickets in the 2006-07 Sheffield Shield, in what turned out to be a coming of age season for him, also earning him the prestigious Ricky Ponting medal for Tasmania.
What’s more, he also earned a maiden call-up to the Australian National team for the ODIs and T20s in January 2007.
He made his debut against New Zealand at his home ground - the Bellerive Oval in Hobart - picking up the prized scalp of Brendon McCullum. The icing on the cake was being named the Bradman young cricketer of the year at the annual Cricket Australia awards the following month.
Rise to Glory
Hilfenhaus immediately became a crowd favorite and was lovingly called Hilfy whenever he came on to bowl. The hard-working cricketer’s ability to bowl the natural out swinger to right-hander along with the rare skill of reverse swinging the Kookaburra in Australian conditions impressed one and all.
A disappointing period of poor luck and a series of injuries impeded his career till 2009 when he managed to get into the Test team for the Australian summer. Hilfenhaus didn’t have an outstanding series picking up just seven wickets but managed to impress one and all with his impeccable line and length and ability to withstand harsh workload.
During the Ashes that English summer, Hilfenhaus’ art was on display as he exhibited his ability to swing the ball both ways and reverse swing the old ball. Australia lost the series, but Hilfenhaus could walk away with his head held high with 22 wickets.
Displaying a brave face against recurring injuries, the paceman put on splendid performances against Pakistan and India and had his place in team intact.
After a disappointing home Ashes, Hilfenhaus was left out of the team for the tour of Sri Lanka with selector Greg Chappell labeling him unfit to last a complete tour. The recurring injuries made him lose significant pace, making him far less dangerous.
Nevertheless, he came back to haunt the famed Indian batting line-up in 2011 picking up 27 wickets in a 4-0 whitewash. Inevitably another spate of injuries followed.
T20 Club Career
Always battling injuries in his career never helped Hilfenhaus, but still, he played for the Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2012, establishing himself as one of their main bowlers. Later, he also got an opportunity with the Mumbai Indians, apart from tasting individual success at Hobart Hurricanes and Melbourne Stars in Big Bash league.