DALE BENKENSTEIN has left Durham to become the new head coach of Hampshire.

Durham have confirmed Benkenstein's departure from Chester-le-Street, and the South African is due to be confirmed as part Hampshire's coaching staff later this afternoon.

The 39-year-old has spent eight seasons at Durham and was a major part in the county's three County Championship title successes.

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He was the first captain to life major silverware for the club with the Friends Provident Trophy in 2007, and is also the club's all-time leading run scorer with 9,055 first-class runs.

He skippered the county for a number of seasons, but spent the winter in South Africa recuperating from a serious shoulder operation, which forced him to miss a large chunk of last summer's action.

During his winter hiatus, he decided he wanted to pursue a career in coaching, with Hampshire approaching him to be their new head coach.

Benkenstein's move to the Ageas Bowl means he will be reunited with former team-mates Ruel Brathwaite and Will Smith, who replaced him as Durham’s captain in 2009.

Durham chief executive David Harker said: "Dale has been a tremendous servant of Durham CCC and is regarded very much as part of the Durham family, therefore, although sad to see him leave we recognise the importance of a move both to Dale and his family and wish him every success in his future career development”.

Benkenstein added: "I have enjoyed being part of the Durham story and the success we have achieved.  I would like to express my thanks to Durham CCC for my release to pursue a coaching career."