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January 11, 2011
Cameron White believes he is ideally suited to the Australia Twenty20 captaincy as he prepares to lead his country for the first time against England, in Adelaide, on Wednesday. White has taken over from Michael Clarke who announced his retirement from Twenty20 cricket after the fifth Ashes Test in a bid to improve his Test and one-day form.
White has an impressive Twenty20 record as a player and averages 36.64 from 23 matches with a strike-rate of 144.50. In all Twenty20 cricket, which includes playing for Somerset and Royal Challengers Bangalore, he has managed two hundreds with a best of 141. Now, though, it is about more than just the runs he scores but how he leads his team and White has no doubt he's capable of meeting the challenge.
"I think I have a really good understanding of how Twenty20 cricket works on the field for a start; tactically I hope I'm as good as there is, and I guess that is what the selectors have seen," he said. "I hope I'm successful as a captain but I can't control where that takes me."
For the time being, White doesn't have any designs on making a push for further captaincy honours in Australian cricket. There is extensive debate about the future of Ricky Ponting and whether Clarke, who has been earmarked for the Test and one-day captaincy for much of his career, is the right man to take over.
White, though, isn't near the Test side at the moment and hasn't been since playing four Tests in India in 2008. "I don't think that I need to worry about or think about being captain of those other formats because it's probably not something that is going to happen in the near future,'' he said.
A tough first assignment awaits White, as he attempts to stop a rampant England side who are brimming with confidence after their Ashes success. The last time the two sides met in a Twenty20 international was in Barbados when England won by seven wickets to secure the World Twenty20 title. England have now strung together seven victories on the bounce and one more will give them a new world record although the team have not been concentrating too hard on the landmark.
"It's been discussed but I don't think it is something that has always been spoken about," Michael Yardy, the England left-arm spinner and middle-order batsman said. "Obviously, you want to achieve world records and it is an opportunity to achieve that, but it is not the main focus. It is very much about continuing the tour in a successful mode."
Yardy is one of the new faces to join the tour for the limited-overs matches. He had been playing Twenty20 cricket in New Zealand for Central Districts prior to his international duty and prepared with 3 for 33 against the Prime Minister's XI in Canberra. And even though the Ashes are finished he can feel the positive after-effects.
"The boys are buzzing, obviously. After winning a series like that they are going to be," he said. "It's nice to be a part of it. You fit in very well, it's a good environment to come into. There is a lot of love in the group at the moment and whether that brings results or it's the results that bring the team closer together I am not too sure. But certainly everyone is happy."
But the tone from the Australian camp, understandably, is very much to move on from what has happened over the last six weeks and start afresh in coloured clothes. There are a number of players, including express quicks Brett Lee and Shaun Tait, in the side who weren't part of the Tests and White is looking forward rather than back.
"Twenty20 and Test cricket couldn't be further apart. I think there are only three or four guys that have been involved in the Test matches,'' he said. "So it's really a fresh start for this team. Hopefully a change of format will bring a change of luck."
Australia was late to embrace Twenty20 cricket and now is looking towards the shortest format for salvation.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at CricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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