Australia news February 12, 2012

White set for Victoria captaincy record


Cameron White will this week become the most prolific captain in Victoria's Sheffield Shield history, and he believes he has many years of state leadership left in him. It has been a difficult few weeks for White, who lost the captaincy of Australia's Twenty20 side to George Bailey and has struggled for runs for the Bushrangers, but this week he has something to celebrate.

When White walks out against South Australia at the MCG on Monday he will be leading Victoria for the 57th time in a Sheffield Shield or Pura Cup match, overtaking Bill Lawry's record of 56. That White will achieve the mark aged 28 speaks of both his early start and also his battle to hold down a spot in the Australia side, a personal struggle from which his state has benefited.

He was thrust into the captaincy at the age of 20, when then Victoria coach David Hookes asked him to lead the side in the absence of the injured skipper Darren Berry against Queensland at the Gabba in 2003-04. That summer White was in charge of the one-day side as well, and by the next season he had replaced Berry as full-time captain in the first-class arena as well.

"It was obviously just something Hookesy saw in me," White said. "I was lucky enough to get the opportunity that he gave to me. Since then I'm sure I've changed plenty. I'm still learning now, and hopefully still getting better. I guess you just learn along the way, from your mistakes sometimes, and speak to people trying to get the best advice you can along the journey.

"I remember having quite a few senior players. Darren Berry and Matthew Elliott were in the team back then, and even Shane Warne in the odd game when he wasn't playing for Australia. It was a challenge but something I enjoyed -- and still enjoy."

Victoria won the 2003-04 Shield final, although by then Berry was back in charge. White's full-time reign as captain has coincided with a period of great success for Victoria: they have won two Shield titles and made another two finals; they have made five one-day finals, though for only one win; and they dominated the early years of the Big Bash, winning in four of the first five years.

"Even in under-age cricket I thought I had a half-decent handle on captaincy out on the field, but probably the thing I've learned over the years is dealing with players off the field, getting the best out of a team, and a squad," White said. "No doubt I've made plenty of mistakes there but I've probably got better."

And for now, White sees no finish line to his captaincy career. Provided his form slump doesn't extend too long, he should have many more years of state cricket left in him, and he is keen to lead the Bushrangers for as long as possible.

"I'm really enjoying it," he said. "I think I'm doing a good job as well. As long as everyone else thinks that, and the people in charge [at Victoria], I can't see why I can't keep doing it.

"It's an honour and privilege to be captain of Victoria for that period of time. I've been lucky over those season to play with some really great players ... it's a really good feeling and something I'm glad to have done. He's a legend of Victorian and Australian cricket, Bill [Lawry]. It's a very nice person to be taking over from ... to cap it off with a win would be good."

There was an encouraging sign for the out-of-form White on Saturday, when he scored 147 for his club side Richmond, having not managed a half-century in any format for Victoria or the Melbourne Stars this summer. White hopes to carry that form into this week's game, which is a must-win as they sit fourth on the Shield table with three rounds to play.

Victoria will regain Peter Siddle for this week's match after he was rested following his heavy workload during the Test summer.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on February 15, 2012, 0:23 GMT

    @WhitesXI - Despite all of what I said, IF White is in form, I would have him in any ODI side I select. I actually like the guy & have thought he has massive potential, unfortunately his time is running out. Last year White didn't even score 300 FC runs during the whole summer, despite playing more List A games than anybody else last summer, was well down the list of run-scorers. I'll concede that I have no proof that ""there was NEVER any direction to stop bowling" - but to suggest that he was told to stop, is far more of a stretch. If White finished the Ryobi series (even Shield) with some 100s & was genuinely in form, he should be re-selected. ATM - he is not in form, & it is nobody's fault but his own. If he were to be blaming others for his sub-par form, then he'll never get his mojo back. As for @jonesy2's comments - nowhere does he say White was told to play against his instinct.

  • Andrew on February 15, 2012, 0:11 GMT

    @whitesXI - mate, whilst we won't agree on the "value" of White - the bit about "...he was told he would probably have to make it (as a Test player), as a top 6 batsmen who CAN bowl..." - I got directly off this site about 5 years ago! As for Khawaja - go look at his record - it is far superior to Cowan, White & Ferguson, (& I happen to be a massive fan of Ferguson). The "focus" on his bowling came after a prolonged period of poor returns. Clarke & Punter wanted White in the side, they couldn't justify it on batting alone (this has been reported on this site). As for the stats you quoted, yep he got an 89 against India - during which he averaged 31 at a S/R of 75, which was not up to scratch for a #5 or #6 batsmen. He clearly was struggling to rotate the strike & was not doing the job he was supposed to. This is despite having senior members of the side fully supporting him.

  • Alex on February 14, 2012, 9:14 GMT

    @Meety - to continue you asked how has his batting changed? if you read below Jonesy2 stated "he played against his natural way too much and tried to manufacture something that he wasnt" a rather secinct way of putting it. "White got dumped from the ODI side after an 18mth lull in performances" White hit that 89 of 40 something balls against India, then outscored ponting, clarke, S Marsh in the ODI's vs England, got given t20 capt made scores of 28 36 aqnd 26. As for my view of selectors - it nothing to do with "malevolent pro-NSW" (more speculation YOU'VE pulled from nowhere) I in fact disliked the slection idea of picking unproven 20 yr olds,with more emphasis being put on potential rather than proven performances ie. cowan white ferguson overlooked for hughes smith khawaja. I'll give hughes his due, his first class record is sensational but when flaws were found in his technique it should have been improved in shield not tests

  • Alex on February 14, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    @Meety - we're clearly not going to agree, but to call everything that I said speculation and then turn around and say things like "he was told he would probably have to make it (as a Test player), as a top 6 batsmen who CAN bowl" and "there was NEVER any direction to stop bowling" come on everything you've said is speculation. As for evidence about selectors comments - selectors and white have stated earlier this year that they wanted him to focus on his bowling to get back in the squad and that earlier their was a concession that after the India tour where he was picked as a spinner that he wasn't going to picked again as spinner. Since then Victoria has dominated domestic cricket in this country and White has been a big part of that, his record spoke for itself yet he was not picked.

  • Andrew on February 14, 2012, 0:54 GMT

    @WhitesXI re: "...that's putting 2 and 2 together (its not exactly rocket science)..." it is TOTAL SPECULATION, as at no stage have you provided any evidence at all regarding ANY directives from the selectors to White. How has he changed his batting? He has a good FC batting average of about 41, I think it was higher around 44 a few years ago, apart from that fact a lot of his runs were piled up against variable County attacks in England. I have always rated his slips fielding, but the reality is you are just trying to create an interpretation on circumstances to justify a position that he has been poorly treated & all his recent short comings can be blamed on the malevolent pro-NSW forces that conspire against the poor Vics! White got dumped from the ODI side after an 18mth lull in performances, he didn't have the past glories to warrant an extra 6 mths of limited returns.

  • Andrew on February 14, 2012, 0:22 GMT

    @whitesXI - apart from the fact that Smith was averaging 60+ in Shield cricket for 2 years before he got selected, his leggies were also taking more wickets than any other spinner in the country last season - White's 100 against the Poms was the most streaky innings I have ever witnessed (all power to him), but ANYBODY who saw that would say he could of been out a dozen times. White's best years in FC cricket occurred when Oz had better performers than him. The career averages between White & North have always been similar, but North clearly has more ability in getting 100 having scored nearly TWICE as many tons. White stopped bowling because like many captains before him, preferred giving others ago (G Chappell, S Waugh even Imran Khan) all underbowled themselves. There was NEVER any direction to stop bowling, his returns from bowling were diminishing, even Clarke had more faith in White's bowling than White himself!

  • Alex on February 13, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    @Meety - if what your saying is true then why on earth has White been continually dropped and overlooked when in form and performing? as captain of the Aus A squad before the ashes he scored 111 against the touring Eng squad and made another significant contribution with the bat when they played a tour game against VIC, yet selctors brought in S Smith (before that even M North was chosen despite White's clear superiority as a lower order batsmen). Added to that White was only picked as a spinner once, all other times he has been selected he has never been asked to contribute with the ball, it's only after this, that White stopped bowling for VIC - thats not speculation, that's putting 2 and 2 together (its not exactly rocket science)

  • Andrew on February 12, 2012, 23:21 GMT

    @whitesXI - not true, he was told he would probably have to make it (as a Test player), as a top 6 batsmen who CAN bowl. Never, ever heard one thing about changing his style. That is speculation! As far as Ferguson is concerned, I believe he should be in the ODI side, but his Shield performances (below par), are his OWN responsibility! == == == ps: Hope Siddle remains playing for Victoria & not get drafted into the ODI side. I really want him as a Test specialist!

  • Alex on February 12, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    For those saying that White wasted his talent, I think it was cricket australia and the selectors telling White that he had to give up his bowling because it wasn't good enough and that if he wanted a test call-up again he should change his batting style. Even now the new selectors told him to work on his bowling, he has, his batting stumbled and he has lost form and t20 captaincy. I think both White and Callum Ferguson have a right to claim that selectors have almost destroyed their test carreers

  • Bryn on February 12, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    well i bit of a frustrating story i guess, such a ridiculous talent but he played against his natural way too much and tried to manufacture something that he wasnt. looks exactly the same now as in that photo which is quite amazing

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