ICC World T20 2012

Older, wiser White preferred to Smith

Daniel Brettig

August 16, 2012

Comments: 17 | Text size: A | A

Cameron White's 77 was in vain, Chennai Super Kings v Deccan Chargers, IPL, Chennai, May 4, 2012
Cameron White's IPL form helped to put him back in contention for Australia's World T20 squad © AFP
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Cameron White's return to the Australia team can be likened to that of the ageless Brad Hogg - a nod to experience over youth and to suitability for a very specific task, the wresting of the World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka in September.

Not given to euphemism or evasion when he speaks publicly about the composition of his teams, the national selector John Inverarity said candidly that White had beaten the young New South Wales allrounder Steve Smith for what was most likely the final place in the squad. He cited White's greater experience - and recent strong touch - as the major reasons.

"I'd say Steve Smith was on the cusp. In the end, Cameron White was preferred to Steve because of Cameron's very good form in the IPL and then again he played for Northants in England and he had some very good innings there," Inverarity said in Perth. "He's in very good form. When he's at his best, he's a very destructive player. He's in good nick at the moment and we're really hoping he'll perform.

"I think Cameron came back into the squad because we thought in a pressure situation with his experience, he might be better than the younger ones. So that was a factor there but generally we've just looked for the best balanced side and the best cricketers."

It was only last summer that White lost his captaincy of the T20 team and his place in the squad altogether, towards the end of a prolonged run of poor batting form and scarcely any bowling. His role in Sri Lanka appears likely to be lower down the order than in the past, providing late innings fireworks and the occasional spell of his flat wrist-spin on the expected low, slow surfaces.

"It's up to George Bailey, the captain, to work out the batting order but I think it's likely to be Matthew Wade probably at six, could well be Cameron White at seven and then either Glenn Maxwell or Dan Christian at eight," Inverarity said. "So there's a lot of depth and there's three left-handers in the top seven so the left-right combination which makes it more difficult for the opposing bowlers.

"There's a lot of potential there. In any form of cricket whether it's Test or T20, wickets in hand is always a good thing so you've just got to get that judgment right. Cameron in the games up in Darwin also bowled well and got some wickets up there. He's just a little bit like [Shahid] Afridi with the spinners that don't turn a lot but are often quite difficult to get away. He could be handy."

Inverarity made it patently clear in announcing his squad for the tournament that there was no real emphasis on the future in this squad. It is a 15-man group compiled entirely to claim the trophy, and to defy Australia's lowly ninth ranking in T20 internationals. There will be a contrast, Inverarity noted, with the teams to be chosen for ODI cricket later on, as the panel continues to assess its options for that format's 2015 World Cup.

"This is a marquee series," Inverarity said. "It is the World Cup, the ICC World T20, so we just picked the best players we could who we think are going to perform best. It will probably be during the ODI games during the Australian summer we'll be looking more to the future, but in this squad we're just looking at the next month.

"Twenty20 cricket is very unpredictable. It really is. If you had a Wimbledon final and instead of the best of five sets, the best of three, I mean it's just a reduced package. So yeah, I think we've got a very good squad, and a very versatile squad. A lot of bowling and a lot of batting, there's a lot of strike power there. So we've got a good chance. Anything could happen, they're prepared and certainly giving it their very best."

As for Hogg, Inverarity said he presented an irresistible case for selection during last summer's BBL and had subsequently backed it up by training and testing very well in comparison to his younger fellow squad members.

"Hogg's done so well. I saw him in the Big Bash last year and he's very fit, he's in really good shape and full of enthusiasm as he always is," Inverarity said. "So we're hoping he does really well. He's continued to do well since the Big Bash League in the IPL in the other T20 leagues around the world, he's done very well.

"He doesn't [look like slowing down]. Not with his enthusiasm, he's very fit. A lot of testing goes on and he comes out pretty well."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Brijesh_Gupta on (August 18, 2012, 20:13 GMT)

Australia have 'a gem of a talented youngster' in Steve Smith and should persist with him in the shorter formats (T20s and ODIs) of the game for a reasonable period to let the youngster be able to express himself.

Posted by   on (August 17, 2012, 7:23 GMT)

michael hussey and dirk nannis must play in the worldcup t20

Posted by thebrotherswaugh on (August 17, 2012, 2:12 GMT)

A good inclusion for the 'hit & giggle' format of the game - let's face it, the skill factor decreases with every shortened format of the game. AUS will perform strongly in the World T-20 Championship, but I expect either IND, WI, or PAK to win it. SA will be too preoccupied consolidating the #1 test ranking after putting ENG to the sword in the Lords test, but they'll still be a danger team. ENG will struggle, as they always do at the mere mention of a World Championship or Cup, it's one of the few constants we can rely upon in an otherwise dynamic, ever-changing world.

Posted by Chris_P on (August 17, 2012, 1:50 GMT)

This squad follows along the recommendations of the Argus report, form players selected. Not sure why the hoo-ha with White,he was dropped last year for lack of form & subsequently selected due to his form, so what's the issue? The thing with T20 is that with form fluctuating almost violently in this format, anyone & everyone will get a go.

Posted by MinusZero on (August 17, 2012, 0:21 GMT)

Neither Smith or White are any good. Time to move on selectors

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (August 17, 2012, 0:07 GMT)

What about Mitch Marsh? Oh, the horror. The horror! Let's hope that I am wrong about Glenn Maxwell but I really think that I am not.

Posted by Meety on (August 16, 2012, 23:52 GMT)

@KiwiRocker - ahh the delightful angry little man. The word LIKE does not mean as good as, or even near as good. Nobody in their right mind would take that as what Inverarity meant - funny you DID! LOL!

Posted by Dashgar on (August 16, 2012, 15:27 GMT)

@Meety, I was referring to just before that when White had made 89 off 40 balls vs India in an ODI as well as a couple of ODI hundreds. The ton vs touring English was good but not fluid and he lost form completely a little while later. I think in T20 his mission has always been clear. He should bat like he did for DC and we'll all be happy.

Posted by Meety on (August 16, 2012, 11:13 GMT)

@ whitesXI - cont. So whilst I want an in-form White back in the Oz side, I prefer him down the order, with a very clear mission - hit long! @HatsforBats - assuming my other comment didn't get thru - I sometimes think that White needs to have a clear situation to be effective. If we have say 4 overs to go & 50 to win, he'll go for the big hit, but if we are batting first & are 2/80 after 10 overs, he doesn't seem to know (mainly from ODI matches) whether to consolidate or keep on attacking. My point being I like him at #6 or #7, the mission is clearer!

Posted by Meety on (August 16, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

@Dashgar - I'm happy for White to be back in the side & fully agree that he is not really "grizzled", however, back when Punter & Pup were doing it tough, so was White, he couldn't hit a ball off the square. I know he got a ton against the touring Poms, but if you watched that innings, you'd have to say he rode his luck. I do believe he is coming into form & that is a TIMELY thing for Oz in all formats (although I'd want to see at least ONE big shield summer before he'd get another Test chance. @whitesXI - I agree that inconsistancies can be highlighted for many instances over the recent past. For a while I thought that White was going to be a better batsmen than Symonds in the big hitting middle order role, but then he just overnight became scratchy & I lost any confidence in him. For all his being credited as a thinking captain, I think sometimes he thinks too much as a batsmen & whilst it maybe that he is getting his eye in, sometimes he looks like he doesn't know what to do.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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