Ashes 100-1 Countdown: 31 Days Until the Ashes…
In article in last weekend’s edition of Melbourne’s The Age newspaper, a list of Australia’s ‘Missing XI’ was debated. In the article the author discussed a range of players who had been called upon by Australian selectors in recent times, but who now seemed to have fallen out of favour on the test scene.
Amongst the names of players such as Stuart Clark, Brad Hodge and David Hussey, was the Victorian captain and limited overs maestro Cameron White. White’s inclusion in the list certainly made one think further about the case for him to regain the baggy green.
In late 2008 White was somewhat surprisingly called up for the test squad to tour India. As Australia’s only spin bowling option for three of the four tests played, White admittedly struggled against a batting line-up that included the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman. Mind you, White’s inclusion as a spin bowler, and without support until Jason Krezja (another forgotten man) joined him in the last test, gave him little chance to succeed. As a result White managed only five wickets and 146 runs in the series. After this White was dropped from the team and has yet to resurface in any discussion regarding possible test line-ups.
So, did the four tests suggest that White, who is a dominant force in ODI’s averaging nearly 40 with the bat, isn’t cut out for test cricket? Or was this a case of a batsman incorrectly selected as a spin bowler? Since his elevation to the Victorian captaincy at 20 years of age White has been considered a great potential performer for Australia. However, complicating matters is that he has often been judged as a bowler, particularly given he’s from Victoria, bowls leg spin and has shock blonde hair (remind you of anyone??). A further complication is that White is often talked about in terms of his leadership, and this can only increase the pressure on him to perform consistently well, as may be expected of a captain or captain-to-be.
What then is the answer for Cameron White? The mixture of poise and aggression that he has shown at ODI level, particularly when batting up the order, has shown that he is a player that could certainly be selected on his batting merits alone. His bowling days, for better or worse, seem to be behind him, and thus he is unlikely to be selected in this position, despite Australia’s desperate need for a replacement for Warne.
At 27, White is in a prime position to take a spot in Australia’s middle order when the likes of Mike Hussey and Marcus North inevitably move on. He seems to be a perfect fit for Australia going forward once Michael Clarke takes the reigns of the team. With the mixture of scintillating stroke play, and his obvious ability to lead men, White should become an invaluable member of the test team as it makes its transition to an era post Ponting.
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