Ross Andrew Whiteley
September 13, 1988, Sheffield, Yorkshire
Left hand bat
Left arm medium
Middle order batter
There are dangerous T20 hitters hidden away in the English county games who the major overseas T20 leagues do not know exist and who, for that matter, are barely known outside their native county. Ross Whiteley is a case in point. It was his unbeaten 91 from 35 deliveries with 11 sixes which swept Worcestershire into the quarter-finals of the NatWest T20 Blast in 2015 and silenced the Yorkshire crowd at Headingley in the process. Only Chris Gayle had a higher strike-rate of batsmen to make 300 runs in the NatWest Blast that season and Whiteley was included in the England Performance Squad for the winter of 2015-16 and named in the Lions squad for a T20 series against Pakistan A.
But although Whiteley's raw talent has never been questioned - he can hit the ball miles, fields athletically and at times has bowled his left-arm seam with surprising pace - it has not always been easy to translate it into consistent performances.
After graduating through the Derbyshire youth system, Whitley was given a first team opportunity in 2008. He had to wait another couple of years for another first-class opportunity but seemed to have broken through in 2011 - he averaged just over 40 and scored a couple of centuries - and then played a valuable role in the club's promotion challenge the following season.
When he swept the six that saw Derbyshire promoted as Division Two champions at the end of 2012, it seemed the club had developed an all-rounder who would serve them well for a decade or more. But after representing England in the Hong Kong Sixes that winter, he fell out with the Derbyshire management midway through the 2013 season (he lost his place in the side and they differed on his plans for the winter) and moved to Worcestershire on a three-year deal. He reminded his former county of his ability by thrashing 84 in 38 balls with nine sixes to help Worcestershire into the T20 quarter-finals in 2014, but those moments, as spectacular as they were, flared only intermittently.
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