Cameron Leon White
August 18, 1983, Bairnsdale, Victoria
Right hand bat
Middle order batter
A level-headed cricketer of immense talent, Cameron White long seemed destined to play a significant role for Australia. At the start of his career it was hard to know whether he would develop into a nagging legspinner, aggressive middle-order batsman, intuitive skipper, or a bit of all three. After being tried as a Test leggie in India in 2008, it became apparent that batting was his focus and he developed into a destructive stroke-maker in the shorter formats. His maturity was recognised when he was named as Australia's Twenty20 captain in 2011. The appointment lasted only a year due to his batting form but it was a natural fit, for he had nearly a decade of captaincy experience having led Victoria in 2003-04 at the age of 20. The youngest skipper in their history, he won rave reviews for his cool head and warm handling of more hardened contemporaries. For all that, he remained a largely unassuming country lad. Picked to tour Zimbabwe when Stuart MacGill withdrew for moral reasons, White cancelled a fishing trip to attend the press conference then boyishly shrugged aside questions about the circumstances of his selection. He was chosen as much for his no-frills batting as his bowling; David Hookes, the late Victorian coach, felt White's best chance of representing Australia was to earn a top-six spot.
White first emerged as a peculiarly unAustralian-style legspinner, tall and robust, relying on changes of pace and a handy wrong'un rather than prodigious turn or flight. He would even start a spell with an offspinner or quicker ball. As far back as December 2002 his hero Shane Warne had predicted: "I think he's a [future] Australian player provided he sticks to the way he plays and doesn't try to be someone different." White made his ODI debut during the Super Series a year after missing a first Test cap when Nathan Hauritz was preferred in India. The retirement of Brad Hogg in early 2008 opened up an ODI spin position and White was given the first chance to secure the role. He even won a call-up to the Test squad in India when Victoria's first-choice leggie Bryce McGain went down with a shoulder injury. Despite his discomfort at being the No. 1 spinner, he held firm on debut while facing the best players of slow bowling in the business. As the series wore on it became clear he was not the answer to Australia's troubles and after four matches he was shifted aside with five wickets and 146 runs. It was time to try again as a batsman.
A clean striker of the ball who plundered ten centuries in two seasons of county cricket in 2006 and 2007, White has at times strangely struggled to convert his good starts into first-class hundreds back home. He did score 135 in the 2008-09 Sheffield Shield final against Queensland, though, and was relieved to lift the trophy after a series of near misses. He burst to life in 2009 with his first ODI century, 105 against England in Southampton, and another century came against Pakistan at home. White disappeared from the ODI side after being part of the 2011 World Cup squad but re-emerged in the T20 outfit in 2014 ahead of the World T20 in Bangladesh. He was surprisingly recalled for a lone ODI against England in 2015 and three more in 2018, after some excellent BBL form. The second half of his career was littered with domestic success. He won six Sheffield Shield titles, captaining three, a JLT One-Day Cup title and a BBL title with the Melbourne Renegades in 2018-19. His illustrious 19-year career with Victoria ended in 2019 when he was not offered a contract for the 2019-20 season.
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