Bangladesh v Australia, 1st ODI, Mirpur April 9, 2011

Clarke backs struggling Cameron White

Though his new captain is doing all he can to support him, Cameron White is fast running out of time to locate the power game that until six months ago had marked him as one of cricket's most fearsome hitters. A dreadfully laboured innings of 20 off 50 balls against Bangladesh in Mirpur summed up White's problems all too well, as he made his customary circumspect start but was then unable to slip through the gears when needed.

By way of a comparison, White's previous international half-century in October last year was a galloping 89 off 49 balls, an innings that for now looks like his last glorious hour. Michael Clarke resorted to pushing White's seldom used legspin as a means of getting him back into the game, but even he admitted White's place would be discussed before the second match on Monday.

"We'll wait and see, Whitey's a huge player for us, not only with the bat but as I've said with the ball as well, he only bowled one over today but I always had that option, which is handy," Clarke said. "Whitey's performed really well in one-day cricket for Australia throughout his career. He obviously hasn't made a big score of late and I know he's working his backside off to try to make that big score. But in regards to the team we'll wait and see, I'll chat to Andrew Hilditch tomorrow and again try to work out what the best XI is going into the second game."

While the two-gear batting approach favoured by White throughout his career continues to malfunction, Clarke was not ready to suggest a change in method. "I don't think so, I think he's had success playing for Australia the way he plays, and I continue to tell him to back himself and do things his way," Clarke said. "He just hasn't been able to get that start and be in a position then to accelerate. So I'm confident if he keeps doing what he's doing, and keeps working as hard as he is, he'll turn it around, because he's got a lot of talent, we've seen that already.

"Conditions were quite hard to start today as well so it did take everybody a bit of time to get in and they've got four pretty good spin bowlers as well."

A victory and a century in Clarke's first match as Australia's full-time captain was an auspicious start, even if the latter overs of Bangladesh's failed chase were decidedly inglorious. For this, Clarke thanked his predecessor Ricky Ponting, who played with striking fluency before he was run out. "Ricky's been so supportive and he's made my job a lot easier by giving me advice and help, and by being one of the boys, which makes it easy for me," Clarke said. "I have a great relationship with Ricky and I was very confident coming here he would do everything in his power to make my job easier to help me out, and I was certainly right about that today.

"I thought he batted beautifully and was very unlucky to get run out. In my opinion he's still one of the best fielders in the world and he showed that today. He's 36 going on 25 at the moment, running around like a youngster and today he batted as well as he did in the World Cup in that last game against India."

Mitchell Johnson, with runs and wickets, was Australia's most arresting performer save for Clarke. "He played beautifully," Clarke said of Johnson. "He's always been a good striker of the ball, Mitch, and it's just about opportunity and spending a little bit of time in the middle.

"He might've mistimed the first couple and then he hit one out of the middle and he was away, so he's an amazing player, a big player in our team in all forms of the game. I think he's enjoyed the chance to bowl with the new ball, there wasn't much swing there today for him, but he bowled beautifully. I thought he and Brett (Lee, in his 200th ODI) did a really good job."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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