When Notts announced their twin overseas signings for the 2015 season it appeared that they had secured the services of two experienced and effective pace bowlers, each well-suited to English conditions, who would bolster the home grown attack.
In the event, neither Vernon Philander or Ben Hilfenhaus were quite able to have the impact that had been hoped. Philander was recalled by South Africa before the scheduled end of his stint and Hilfenhaus, who was contracted to play from June until the end of the season in all formats, suffered a hip injury and went back to Australia early.
The Tasmanian – only the second fast bowler from the island to represent Australia – had 99 wickets in 27 test appearances and a further 38 scalps for his country in One-Day cricket.
A relative latecomer to the game, Hilfenhaus was working on a building site as recently as 2005 but found his rise to be a quick one once his talent for swinging the ball at pace was recognised – an ability that served him well on tours to England in particular.
His First-Class debut for Tasmania followed shortly and he went on to make his ODI and T20I debuts in 2007, before a full Test debut followed in 2009.
Despite never having played in county cricket, he made quite the impact in the 2009 Ashes tour in England, finishing the series with 22 wickets, and continued to represent his country through until 2012.
Injuries had played a part in keeping his International appearances down and he never got the chance to take his Test wicket tally up to the coveted 100; such were the nature and severity of those injuries that he retired from the First-Class game less than a year after his short stint at Trent Bridge.
Hilfenhaus played in three County Championship matches and four T20 Blast games for Notts. His injury came in the Division One game against Worcestershire, in which he took five wickets, after contributing 41 overs due to Notts having other bowlers injured – all in all, not a happy summer for the county’s pace attack.
Ben – nicknamed ‘Gentle Ben’ because of his calm demeanour and after a popular cartoon character – finished his career with those 99 test wickets, at 27.50 and 387 First-Class wickets at 29.34. In his all-to-brief stay with Notts, he took seven First-Class wickets at 42.00 and just three T20 wickets at an impressive 15.12.
Born in Ulverstone, Tasmania on 15 March 1983, Ben Hilfenhaus has used his retirement from the game to hone his golfing skills, getting his handicap down to eight.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 635