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."