NSW v Victoria, Ryobi Cup, Bankstown October 7, 2013

Victorious White questions Ryobi format


Victoria 8 for 174 (White 82*, Wade 50) beat New South Wales 9 for 171 (Rohrer 63, Smith 47, Boland 3-42) by two wickets

A reinvigorated Cameron White shepherded Victoria to a third win in as many matches, this time over New South Wales, and then joined the Tasmania captain George Bailey in questioning this year's limited-overs tournament format and the poor Bankstown pitches on which it has so far been contested.

Relieved of the state captaincy at the start of the season to allow the wicketkeeper Matthew Wade to expand his leadership skills, White has played with considerable authority and freedom to take the Bushrangers past a pair of pesky targets against South Australia and now the Blues.

But personal success did not dissuade White from expressing doubts about the suitability of a competition squeezed into little more than three weeks in October, before six Sheffield Shield matches are lined up in as many weeks in November and December. Bailey offered similar reservations before departing for India with the national team.

"I'm enjoying it from the point of view that Victoria are three wins from as many games," White said. "But I'm not sure about the tournament to be totally honest, six games isn't a lot, but I understand the scheduling is a fine balance these days. I'm not sure about the whole Sydney thing and the whole set-up itself, but, off the top of my head, I haven't got any better ideas at the moment. It's interesting to see how this format's going to work once it's done and dusted in a couple of weeks' time.

"You create extra space in the draw by playing this at the start of the season but then you still play six four-day games before December 12. That to me is a lot of cricket in a short space of time if you're a fast bowler. That'll be interesting to see where teams are at with their depth when you have a week off before BBL starts."

Another slow and untrustworthy surface at Bankstown made life difficult for both sides at times, and though he prospered, White said the pitch recalled nothing quite so much as some of the more curmudgeonly club wickets he had played on in Melbourne. "That's probably the best way to describe the pitch, it's just low and slow and if you bowl stump-to-stump it's quite difficult to score," he said. "You can see by the scores that it was pretty tough work. Not sure it was much of a spectacle on the sidelines either, it was a hard slog."

The hard slog had begun early, NSW finding little joy in it despite Steve Smith's success at the toss. A strip that had been used already for Friday's match between the Bushrangers and South Australia had worn in the meantime. David Warner did not find it to his liking and soon dragged a tentative cut shot attempt onto his stumps from Scott Boland, having fussed over avoiding a grade match in order to gain extra net practice for the game.

His struggles were to be replicated by others. The former Victoria representative Ryan Carters fell in similar fashion to John Hastings, before the left-hander Scott Henry was beaten by a Boland delivery that straightened from around the wicket. As against Tasmania, it was left to Smith to demonstrate how to adjust to the prevailing conditions, waiting on the ball instead of chasing it too hastily.

His innings was another reminder of a talent beginning to bloom, but it would be ended short of fifty by Dan Christian, who found a sharp off-cutter to strike Smith in front of the stumps - whether the ball would have continued its arc down the leg side was a matter for debate. Peter Nevill was the victim of a too-sharp single, run out by David Hussey, and Sean Abbott was pinned in front of his stumps by Jon Holland.

At 6 for 85 a defendable total looked unlikely, but Ben Rohrer has proven himself to be a most resourceful player, and he fashioned a series of lower-order partnerships to lift the Blues' tally into the realm of the respectable. The No. 10 Nathan Lyon had batted in grade cricket on Saturday, and ended the innings on a defiant note by crunching the previously nagging Boland for a six and a four in the final over.

Victoria's chase was punctuated by regular wickets, as Doug Bollinger, Josh Hazlewood and Gurinder Sandhu all bowled diligently. But Wade and then White played with commendable fluency in the circumstances, ensuring that, even as wickets were lost, the visitors had plenty of time in which to cobble together the remaining runs. The leadership handover appears to have agreed with both men.

"Matt's doing a great job and I'm just enjoying the role and batting with a fair bit of freedom," White said. "As you can see the team's in a fairly good spot as well - everyone's enjoying their cricket including myself. When you're captain you probably do think about more things than just yourself, you can really concentrate on your own game when you're not captain, so I'm sure in many ways it's probably a good thing."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Paul on October 9, 2013, 20:58 GMT

    Seems a necessary evil. We want early four day games and keep them going through the Ashes series so contenders for the national team get the practice. But the 50/50's need to be played some time and they can't be on the main tracks if they're on before the four day games. So put them all in the one spot.

  • Dummy4 on October 8, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    How biased is this format?? NSW play their round robin games over 24 days. Meanwhile Queensland plays their six round robin games over 11 days. For Queensland to defend their title, they may have to then play the two finals over the next five days ..... that's eight games in sixteen days. Really??? How is the ACB providing a level competition when this ludicrous format has been devised that not only provides NSW with a significantly easier path to win the competition than Queensland (who would have thought), but also puts at risk the health and safety of the cricketers by making some teams play an incredible amount of cricket in such a condensed time frame?? Good luck Queensland!!! But you have an Everest to climb!!!

  • Brady on October 8, 2013, 5:37 GMT

    @ duralsumo on (October 8, 2013, 5:08 GMT) : if this were a first-class game I would agree with you that this surface would yield an appropriate examination of a batsman's technique. However, in limited overs competitions the spectator wants to see the batsmen playing more shots. Now, I am not suggesting that pitches should be a batsmen's paradise - but I am sure that most people want to see scores of 250+ on a regular basis.

  • John on October 8, 2013, 5:08 GMT

    @One Eyed Aussie - Given the negative press that media gives the one day game it is no surprise the one day game is at a low ebb. Seven years of being on pay tv with no great promotion would obviously put the game backwards. Compare the atmosphere to ODI final of 2005/6 and each of the following years and you will see where I am coming from. If Cricket Australia is fair dinkum about getting our cricket standards up it must throw money in promoting the lower tiers of the game. Looking at the inept shots that were played yesterday I must say that Cameron White, Ben Rohrer and to a lesser extent Steve Smith were the only batsmen who dug in. Is not the true test of a batsman to be able to be able to overcome averse conditions? I agree that the punctated form of this tournament does not help in developing long term cricketers however I think that Cricket Australia is trying to get some coverage on the free media. That is a start. However it will be a long Ashless Summer unfortunately.

  • Bludging on October 8, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    White started as a leggie. Problem is it did not turn a single degree, so he then tried his hand at batting.

    Is there anyone else in Melbourne district cricket that has some talent that is available?

    End of the day, White has been around a long time. We have had a good look at his, he has come up snake eyes. Let's all move along.

    Ciao White!

  • Guy on October 8, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    What is so wrong with slow pitches? Younger cricketers should learn that T20 isn't the sole form of the game. This pitch is like India and batsman and bowlers should use these ovals as India training and so we can WIN a series in India, not a whitewash 4-0.

    Cameron White should not play any more ODI for Australia. Nathan Hauritz needs to make a return if Australia has any chance to win the return Ashes. Steve Smith is a good captian and should takeover from Clarke.

  • Brady on October 8, 2013, 1:52 GMT

    Interest in domestic 50-over cricket in Australia seems to be at an all-time low. I doubt these kind of surfaces, where teams are strugglign to pass 200, are really helping the problem.

  • Stuart on October 7, 2013, 19:40 GMT

    I'm already tired of this writer labelling the Bankstown pitches "poor". Slow, yes. Uneven in bounce, quite often. But they're not seaming or turning uncontrollably, and Smith, Rohrer, White and even the bowlers Sandhu and Hazlewood built innings on this track. Using the word "poor" is just plain lazy, the same as batsmen become when they are presented with hard, fast, flat belters 100% of the time. I for one don't mind the batsmen having to apply themselves occasionally.

  • Chris on October 7, 2013, 14:55 GMT

    @cricketsubh. Thankfully there is no chance of that happening. Great to see White amongst the runs and best for him to continue in Australia and get some first class cricket under his belt too. What is particularly pleasing is the contrasting innings he has played, one power and this last one more subdued. Time at the crease is what he and all Australian batsmen needs, not playing fleeting cameos in ODI's.

  • subhasish on October 7, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    australia must pick white in their odi tour to india .he is in great from and he played all most 90 game for aus in odi at 30 he is now understand his game and do well so pick him for odis in india he can fly to india andif iam a selector i will pick him in the 1st odi team vs india.

  • No featured comments at the moment.