Australia news July 12, 2014

Whiteman 'may even be as good as Gilly' - Healy

ESPNcricinfo staff

Western Australia wicketkeeper Sam Whiteman has the potential to be as good a batsman as Brad Haddin and possibly Adam Gilchrist, according to former Australia wicketkeeper Ian Healy.

Healy, who is third on the list of wicketkeepers with most dismissals in Test cricket, had joined the Australia A training session on Saturday at Whiteman's request. The pair worked on Whiteman's technique behind the stumps on the eve of Australia A's second and final four-day game against India A. In the first match last week, Whiteman had scored his maiden first-class hundred and was involved in a record 371-run partnership with Mitchell Marsh that put Australia A in the lead after they were struggling at 6 for 99.

"Sam's batting is probably right up there with Brad Haddin's and maybe even Gilly," Healy said. "He's 22 and he's having good impact in Shield cricket and first-class cricket, so he might even be as good as Gilly. He's going to have a lot of resemblance to Gilly being a high-gripping left-hander. So he's got that covered by streets, now it's just about getting consistency into his glovework. At 22, he'll be around for a while."

Whiteman made his first-class debut in 2012-13 and has become a regular in the Western Australia side. He had an impressive 2013-14 season, scoring 687 runs at an average of 45.80, sixth on the list of top run-getters in the Sheffield Shield. His 45 dismissals were the most for any wicketkeeper in the tournament.

Healy worked on specific areas with Whiteman that he hoped would help the wicketkeeper improve his performance in challenging circumstances. "These things take time to sink in to your techniques and we are just working with his body weight and body height and side-ways power," Healy said. "He gets that down pat and very repeatable, then at 5.30 in an afternoon of wicketkeeping against the spinners, he doesn't have to worry about his movements. It will happen. If he's watching the ball and ready for it, his movement will happen. It's just about making everything as natural as we can but very fit.

"With his talent, enthusiasm and the amount of performances he's got already, he's good. He's a quality performer. He can be good but I haven't seen enough of him at play. So it's fine to do all these things and moving perfectly at practice but I really have to see more of Sam keep in a game, keep immediately after a mistake and keep in pressure situations. And just see how natural all the things we are working on are, and how ingrained they can become."

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  • Phil on July 14, 2014, 13:10 GMT

    @ Xtrafalgarx - I think you're splitting hairs there. The point is that Whitman has had expectations set for him,and I'm sure he's aware of it. It's going to have an effect, almost definitiely a negative impact due to increased pressure he puts on himself to perform.

    @ landl47: Agreed - thats a really good point.

  • Dummy4 on July 14, 2014, 8:54 GMT

    I think guys like Healy are doing a disservice to budding talent like Whiteman. Gilly is a once in a generation batsman keeper. We all know the problems that are caused by building expectations. Lets hope that this budding keeper progresses and plays for Australia soon.

  • Terry on July 13, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    ygkd, Gilchrist played a handful of games for NSW over a couple of seasons and left for WA when he was 22 or 23 and played at the WACA for the next dozen years or more. Even he I'm sure would rank his keeping as solid and competent rather than spectacular. That said he was reliable and you struggle to think of his errors. I can remember him saying that he knew he was ready to go when he mishandled a bit in Adelaide in his last series and in hindsight I can remember those errors jarring. Back to the story .... Whiteman is promising but any batting comparison with Gilchrist at this stage is fanciful and unhelpful.

  • Philip on July 13, 2014, 1:02 GMT

    A keeper needs to be up to speed in their teens. Development when already in the team, under pressure and in the spotlight, is asking a lot. Whiteman has taken a chunk of FC dismissals, but that often depends on the bowling. Such figures can be flattering. Or the reverse. My view is that keeping to spin is the thing. If that is top-notch and the batting is okay, then the overall package is good. One could argue that record-breaker Rod Marsh was a WACA man (a place not renowned for spin) and less-than-perfect to spinners, but I would say that he fitted a pace-orientated attack. If Australia wants spin as a front-line option, it needs glovemen who can do that. Healy could. Gilchrist could (yes, he too played at the WACA but that wasn't much of his total career). I rate Healy highly, not as a commentator, but as an example of what glovework should be. When Healy makes comments like this I tend to think it shows he wants keepers to be front-and-centre-stage. I don't read too much into it.

  • Peter on July 13, 2014, 0:50 GMT

    @ Jono Makim. Agree with you re: Wade. Keeping is poor but his batting is not too far off our top 6. @Jamie Moneghan. Wade, fragile as batsman? Have you seen him bat? He has a very tight technique & is batting better than most of the regular batsmen! As for Whiteman, all I have seen of him to date has been mighty impressive. Another season of shield, at the same standard as the last season & he must surely go to the top of the pecking order.

  • John on July 12, 2014, 20:51 GMT

    Healey says he could be as good as Gilly and then in the same interview says he hasn't seen enough of him at play. Seems to me that Heals is forgetting to think before he talks, which wouldn't be for the first time.

    I hope Whiteman does turn out to be as good as Gilly. If he does, he'll be fantastic to watch. However, I'm not going to hold my breath waiting. If he turns out to be a decent WK/batsman, then that will be enough. Gilly was a once in a lifetime talent and I'm not expecting Whiteman or anyone else to match him.

  • Peter on July 12, 2014, 17:32 GMT

    It would not surprise me if the primary supplier of the world's cricket talent produced another Gilly.

    I walked passed the great man in Collins Street Melbourne about 2006. What a player he was...the greatest ever keep-batsman - no doubt about it

  • James on July 12, 2014, 16:16 GMT

    I just don't see the reason for such a fuss over a such a compliment. @Hatsforbats, for starters there is a difference between comparing and LIKENING a player to someone. Heals isn't as good as Gilly, he is saying he has the POTENTIAL to be as good as Gilly - big difference. There is nothing wrong at all with Healy's comments and if anything it should motivate Whiteman even more rather than 'put pressure' on him, i just don't see how that's the case.

  • Ohhhh on July 12, 2014, 15:21 GMT

    Yet another English star. Just like Andrew Symonds.

  • Nicholas on July 12, 2014, 15:17 GMT

    Same thing was no doubt said about Wade. The inevitable slide continues...

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