Snappy Q&As with the players

Sam Whiteman

'I get kicked out of the nets quickly when I try to bowl'

Western Australia wicketkeeper Sam Whiteman chats about his rise in the domestic ranks, his slowest team-mate, and dinner with Jennifer Aniston

Interview by Will Macpherson

July 5, 2014

Comments: 8 | Text size: A | A

Sam Whiteman takes the aerial route, Sydney Sixers v Perth Scorchers, Big Bash League, Sydney, January 10, 2014
"It was awesome playing in front of big crowds around the country in the BBL" © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Sam Whiteman

You've just come back from a well-earned end-of-season break. Did you go away? If so, where did you go and with whom?
I've just got back from three weeks in America with Mitch Marsh and Matt Dixon, two of my Warriors' team-mates. We had an awesome time and went to Mexico, LA, Vegas, and then over to New York City.

Do you have a nickname?
Whitechops.

What's the best and worst thing about being a keeper?
The best thing is that you're in the middle of the action, standing and chatting rubbish to your mates in the slip cordon and you're never alone. Being in the middle of the action is also the worst thing, as it's actually hard work, unlike some fielding positions! The legs were feeling pretty heavy by the end of the season.

Who's the slowest on his feet in the Western Australia dressing room?
Michael Beer, without a doubt. He'd be pretty slow out the blocks and wouldn't get any quicker. He's got the body of a 50-year-old. That said, he'd probably tell you he'd win the race!

Worst taste in music?
Marcus Harris has pretty awful tunes. He's into a lot of gangsta rap.

You're talked about as the next long-term keeper for Australia and are playing for the A team for the first time this winter. How does that make you feel?
I guess firstly it's a massive honour to be spoken about that way and is very exciting. It's always nice to have people say things like that about you, but I guess the most important thing is to not let it go to your head. I'm looking forward to linking up with the boys in Queensland this winter and we'll go from there. Hopefully I'll get a chance and can have a decent tour. It's an exciting time.

WA had a pretty special year with the Scorchers winning the BBL and the Shield side making the final. What was the most important thing you learned?
I learnt different things from the two finals. It was awesome playing in front of big crowds at the WACA and around the country in the BBL and seeing people so into the game. The BBL final and Shield final, there's only really one step up from that and that's international cricket, so it was great to experience both of them. We'll learn plenty from the disappointment of the Shield and hopefully come back stronger next year.

On the flip side, WA cricket took a bit of a blow when it was announced that the WACA has missed out on a Test match this year.
It's really disappointing. I loved going to the Test match at the WACA as a kid. It's a ground with a strong history and a lot of character, and the deck is always a cracker that produces a result. It's a real shame and hopefully there will be Test cricket back at the WACA very soon.

Much is made of the fact that you were born in Yorkshire and that your dad is English. Do you reckon you've retained an English sense of humour?
Nah, my sense of humour is pretty Aussie - I've been here since I was three and it's all I've ever really known.

All right then, what's your favourite joke? Is it printable?
(Laughing) Most of my jokes are printable but they are pretty cringe-worthy. Why did the golfer take two pairs of socks? In case he got a hole in one!

Was there a part of you that thought about going and plying your trade in England?
I went over and played a season of club cricket in Surrey and turned out in a couple of 2nd XI games over there but staying was never something I thought much about. I loved it and had a great time, but I'd grown up in Australia and always dreamt about playing for Australia and Western Australia, so it would have been a bit weird if I'd gone elsewhere.

What was your favourite thing about club cricket in England?
I loved the atmosphere around the club and the social side of cricket. That was a great laugh.

Do you ever turn your arm over in the nets? And if so, what do you bowl?
I bowl a few offies but they don't tend to turn much. I usually get kicked out of the nets pretty quickly when I try to have a bowl but I like to blame it on the WACA nets. They're not really spinners' wickets, you see.

If I said footy, what sport would I be talking about?
Australian Rules.

Did you play it when you were growing up?
Yeah, I loved playing footy but I was no use whatsoever! I just wasn't tough enough. I used to play footy, basketball, pretty much anything with a ball actually, but I was only any good at cricket.

Any hidden talents?
(Long pause) Definitely nothing of any use! I can juggle but that's about it.

Who would be on your dream dinner-party guest list and what would be on the menu?
I'd cook steak. It's simple and you can't go wrong. The guest list would be more tricky. It's got to be a woman, hasn't it? I'll say Jennifer Aniston.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (July 6, 2014, 10:37 GMT)

Spent the summer in Perth and saw lots of good things from Sam Whiteman. Very neat and tidy keeper and was very consistent with the bat. He made a bunch of 50's and rarely failed and now just needs to start converting those starts into centuries. I got the feeling that once he does he wont look back. Haddin's resurgence means there is a bit more time but I suspect this boy will be ready sooner rather than later.

Posted by ygkd on (July 5, 2014, 23:16 GMT)

Some young blokes keep because they can't bowl much, or well. Some can't bowl because they've spent so much time on their keeping, which must be the better result of the two. I'm not sure where Whiteman fits in on this scale, but batting looks his forte, as is expected these days and is the usual story for Victorians, Ludeman being the recent exception.

Posted by HatsforBats on (July 5, 2014, 8:32 GMT)

@Chris_P, so not a keeper first? Still, a promising start with bat, and maybe he'll slot in to keeper for Neville one day.

Posted by dirtydozen on (July 5, 2014, 6:07 GMT)

He would be perfect replacement for haddin. but most probably they would either select wade or nevill becuase they play for nsw and victoria.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (July 5, 2014, 5:58 GMT)

@Hatsforbats: I think his keeping has pretty much taken a backseat and is now a batsman first and foremost but will still keep when required.

Whiteman looks the goods both in terms of skill and attitude, seems wise beyond his years. Hopefully Hadds will hold on for a bit longer though for Whiteman to blossom, A couple of first class hundreds would be nice.

Posted by Chris_P on (July 5, 2014, 5:13 GMT)

He seems to have a laid back attitude & his keeping looks really top class. For sure he appears to be in the selector's thoughts as our next long term keeper & the fact he is keeping for WA is a bonus that Carters doesn't have. @HatsforBats. I only ever saw him in the NSW matches as a batsman & the few times I saw him keep for the Thunder didn't show much, but if Victoria thought he was good enough to keep for them at a young age, he must have something.

Posted by   on (July 5, 2014, 4:27 GMT)

Jennifer Aniston turned 45 this year! Come on young fella, she's too old for you. XD

Posted by HatsforBats on (July 5, 2014, 4:18 GMT)

I've been really impressed with what I've seen from Whiteman so far, particularly in that his keeping seems to be his strength and his batting a bonus, definitely a future prospect. I was getting worried about our keeping, what with Wade being the preferred #1 for so long, but now with Carters as well it seems we're well placed for when Haddin calls it a day. I do confess though I've not seen Carters keep but I've heard he's tidy, anyone?

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