Australia in South Africa 2011-12 October 8, 2011

Captain White seeks runs and wins


These are challenging times for Cameron White. Now officially a Twenty20 selector after the Argus review recommended captains join the panel in each format, White flew out for South Africa on Saturday needing not only to choose and inspire his young team-mates, but also turn around his own form.

As White departed for next week's two Twenty20s, he knew that within ten days, he would be on his way home again. No longer part of the one-day international squad, having lost his place soon after the World Cup, White has only two chances to get things right on this trip.

He is one of five members of the T20 squad - along with David Hussey, Matthew Wade, Aaron Finch and Mitchell Marsh - who will head home after the matches in Cape Town and Johannesburg, not required for the three ODIs that follow. Having not scored a half-century in his past 21 innings for Australia across both formats, dating back to last October, White knows he needs some runs under his belt to force his way back in.

"I'd love to be playing one-day cricket," White told ESPNcricinfo this week. "That's the way it is. I'm desperate to get back into the side. Part of that is going to be scoring runs for Victoria, which is something to focus on when I get back."

Something he needs to focus on in the meantime is Australia's poor recent record in T20 cricket. They have won just one of their past eight matches in the format, and one of four since White took over the full-time captaincy in January.

Turning that slump around against South Africa on their home turf won't be easy but like Australia, South Africa have named a squad with a few new faces. Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn have been rested, while AB de Villiers is out due to a broken finger and Albie Morkel has also been sidelined by an abdominal muscle tear.

"They are some very big losses for them," White said. "They're pretty extraordinary players and big losses. But no doubt they're a strong country and they'll have very good replacements."

Australia know all about finding replacements. Brad Haddin's recent retirement from T20 internationals, combined with Tim Paine's broken finger, will lead to a debut for the Victoria wicketkeeper Wade, while the season-ending shoulder injury to the allrounder John Hastings allowed Mitchell Marsh his first national call-up.

Marsh and his brother Shaun will become the second set of siblings to play T20 internationals for Australia, after Michael and David Hussey. Mitchell Marsh showed promising signs during the recent Australia A series in Zimbabwe and Shaun said playing with his brother would be a wonderful experience.

"Obviously when Mitch got picked it was a very proud moment for both of us and for the family," Shaun Marsh said. "He certainly deserves his opportunity. He performed very well in the Australia A tour to South Africa earlier this year and hopefully we can get a game together and do well."

Remarkably, at 19 Mitchell Marsh is not the youngest member of the squad, with the 18-year-old fast bowler Patrick Cummins also in line for his international debut. But arguably the most exciting part of Australia's build-up to the South Africa Twenty20s has been the breathtaking form of the opener David Warner.

Warner will join the squad from India, where he has been playing for New South Wales in the Champions League T20, and in his final two innings of the tournament, he has scored 135 not out and an unbeaten 123. That's on top of a double-hundred and 152 that he made for Australia A in July.

The first Twenty20 will be played at Newlands on Thursday, before the teams head to the Wanderers for the second game on Sunday.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on October 11, 2011, 11:48 GMT

    As usual you live in the past like Hilditch and Ponting... Your stats mean nothing compared to current form and endeavour... Were you shocked by the Argus report?... Seems like it... We are moving forward while you remember the 'great old days'... Well enjoy your memories... I'm wanting new ones this year and better ones next year... Bring in the Argus axe and start afresh with players not living on past glories and over inflated pay checks...

  • Christopher on October 11, 2011, 5:33 GMT

    @zenboomerang.Warner:Zimbabwe 2011-List A-173 runs from 5 innings at 34.60.NSW-2010/11-List A-130 runs from 7 innings at 18.Career List A average:28.97.NSW-2010/11-1st class-275 runs from 6 innings at 45.8.NSW-2009/10-1st class-89 runs from 5 innings at 22.Career 1st class record for NSW-406 runs at 36.90.He made 1 x 100 & 1 x 50 from 3 innings in Zimbabwe.If he hadnt,this discussion would be completely redundant.His 152 wont appear on his career record.The ICC doesnt recognise games that arent 1st class,List A or 20/20.If you have an issue with that,I suggest you take it up with them.I look forward to a time when Warners record across all formats & in all conditions supports his higher inclusion.Like all players in Australian cricket,he must work through Shield to establish his credentials.To do otherwise is unprofessional to those who observe due dilligence.His improvement is admirable but CL20/20 is NOT Test,ODI or even Shield cricket.Review this site.My views on 20/20 arent unique.

  • Roo on October 11, 2011, 2:16 GMT

    @hyclass... still Warner bashing as usual... CricInfo say Warners last 5 20/20 innings ( last 2 n.o.) = 328... The 3 matches in Zimbabwe (2 first class) 211; 48 & 82; the (90 over match) 152... the 2 first class games = 341 in 3 innings... form is more important than your years old statistics... considering your publicly stated dislike for 20/20 your whinging on the subject is becoming meaningless...

  • Randolph on October 10, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    Seriously White is pathetic. I love that he's our 20/20 captain though. Just shows more and more people how rubbish he! Lost his place in the ODI side; even Doherty can't do that!

  • Christopher on October 10, 2011, 2:56 GMT

    Warners 152 in Zimbabwe wasnt 1st class.It wasnt List A and it wasnt 20/20. A great deal more good would accrue if facts were substituted for hype. While form is always preferable & Warner has clearly worked in an intelligent fashion on his game, perspective is still necessary.Warners 100s in the last 12 months have been as follows: 1 against WA at the SCG in Shield,taking his Shield record to 406 runs at 36.90. 1 in 1st class cricket and 1 in List A cricket in Zimbabwe,taking his List A average to 28. 2 in 20/20 in India taking his 20/20 average to 30. None occurred on wickets with pace,seam or bounce. Whites difficulty is that he lacks any semblence of technique and is an eye & hence a confidence player. His strength and power cover for a multitude of technical sins & no amount of coaching will suffice. He simply must get his confidence & game plan back on track. Its a big ask in such a short format.Unsurprising to see Shaun promoting Mitch.Very surprising to see it printed.

  • Harvey on October 10, 2011, 0:51 GMT

    The captain should not be a selector. How will they ever get dropped?

  • Andrew on October 10, 2011, 0:20 GMT

    @Behind_the_bowlers_arm - like the wording, & I agree. @VivGilchrist - I agree re: Ferguson, unfortunately for Harris, he is up against Warner & Watson. Whilst I wouldn't mind seeing Watto not playing T20s anymore, it would be a big call to drop him (or ask him to retire form the form). @whitesXI - sorry mate, don't agree, he has had several years in the squad, & ODI batsmen in the middle order often have floating roles. Mike Hussey has adapted to many different requirements, as did Symonds. White is out of form, but I do agree he in theory has another 5 to 10 years of cricket ahead of him, which is = to a generation in sports, meaning he is still worth keeping. @ Dashgar - I'd like to see White perform, however that ton he made against the Pommy A-side was one of the most scratchy innings I've seen & given it was in the middle of a drought for him, it was a touch lucky, (IMO - a tons a ton though).

  • Prem on October 10, 2011, 0:11 GMT

    Shane Watson is the vice-captain of the Test and ODI side where Clarke is captain. Clarke has retired from international T20 however Watson is in the T20 team. So why isn't the country's vicecaptain in Tests and ODIs Watson not the captain of the T20 side??? D-oh CA!!!

  • Tim on October 9, 2011, 23:40 GMT

    Any player who makes ODI centuries at number 3 and a first class century as well against the worlds number 1 team is worthy of test selection. White has been unfairly labelled a short format player and should have been given a chance as a batsman in test years ago.

  • Terry on October 9, 2011, 18:04 GMT

    White is a good Shield player and an unfulfilled limited overs international player. Just short of the required quality for that. But to suggest he is a Test player is laughable. He certainly isn't within a million miles of the class of Mike Hussey and never will be.

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