If he can’t have Shane Warne, Australian captain Ricky Ponting is more than happy with his own Anil Kumble. Ponting has predicted a bright future in Test cricket for Bangalore debutant Cameron White, as a Kumble-like operator more than capable of bowling accurately to his skipper’s detailed plans.
In purely statistical terms, White’s first Test (six and 18no with the bat, 1-88 from 31 overs with the ball) was not one for the archives, but he demonstrated an ability to hold his own against Indian batsmen, something that delighted his skipper.
“He’s come along in leaps and bounds with his bowling in this game, I think he’s probably exceeded my expectations with what he’s done,” Ponting said.
“From what I’ve seen in this game it would appear that Cam’s got a lot more confidence in his bowling.
“To experience what he’s experienced, bowling against some world class players on foreign soil, will do him the world of good.
“He could be a really good player for us in years to come.”
Some of the derision directed at White’s game over the years has been the fact he does not seek flight, drift and turn like a classical wrist spinner, relying more on accuracy, changes of pace and “natural variation” from a deteriorating pitch.
Such a style has worked more than adequately for Kumble, particularly in subcontinental conditions where wickets come more often from wearing a batsman down.
“If you look at the style he bowls it’s probably reasonably similar to the way Kumble bowls, not a lot of sidespin, a lot of overspin, pretty much stump to stump and at a slightly quicker pace than normal legspinners bowl, and I’m not sure if Kumble’s ever been called ‘not an attacking spinner’,” Ponting said.
“You don’t want a spinner leaking runs all the time, so if he can get the ball in the right area with a bit of variation from the wicket, plus a few different variations of his own, then he’s doing a good job for the team.”
For his part, White was happy to leave the nerves of his hurried entry into Test cricket – a week after he was playing club cricket in Melbourne – behind him.
Like most wrist spinners, he was quite simply relieved that his first ball did not bounce twice.
“Yep, to be honest,” he said.
“They’re the things that make me nervous, thinking of the bad things, which is probably what you shouldn’t do.
“It’s good to have got it out of the road. I’m happy with the way I bowled.
“I’m much better when I’m relaxed, (but) I’m not saying I’m not going to be not nervous next time either.
“I really enjoyed it once I got into my work, after the first few overs I found a bit of rhythm which is something I haven’t done for a while.
“I enjoyed bowling and enjoyed being in the contest and in the game the whole match.”
As for the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar, White was just as modest as he has always been about his bowling – a quality that has ensured he never tries to be something he isn’t.
“There was probably a bit of bad light around,” White said. “I’m not sure Sachin saw it too well.”