White gets nod for T20 World Cup
Seven months ago, Cameron White’s international Twenty20 career appeared to be in tatters after a horror form slump resulted in him being stripped of the captaincy and dropped from the squad.
But come September in Sri Lanka, it is hoped a rejuvenated White will play a key role as Australia attempt to snare their first T20 World Cup title.
White, who turns 29 on Saturday, was on Thursday named in Australia’s 15-man T20 World Cup squad for the tournament that runs between September 18 and October 7.
Continuity was the theme for Australian selectors, who opted to stick with the same 15 players who were selected for next month’s three-match T20 series against Pakistan in Dubai.
At 41 years of age, Brad Hogg is the oldest member of the squad, while 19-year-old paceman Pat Cummins is the only teenager in an outfit boasting 10 players who are 28 or older.
Victorian spinner Glenn Maxwell, who is yet to play for Australia, was the bolter, while allrounder Steve Smith narrowly missed a spot in the side.
But it’s White’s ascension from forgotten man to key figure that is the feel-good story.
White endured a horrible Big Bash campaign for Melbourne Stars last summer, averaging a woeful 7.86 with the bat from eight matches before being axed from the Australian set-up in January.
However, White’s starring role for Deccan Chargers in the IPL and Northamptonshire in the English T20 competition forced selectors to reconsider their stance.
National selector John Inverarity hoped White’s axing would prove to be a turning point in his career.
“I think when a player is dropped, it can mean a refocusing and a gathering of determination,” Inverarity said on Thursday.
“Cameron White came back into the squad because we thought in a pressure situation with his experience, he might be better than the younger ones.
“When he’s at his best, he’s a very destructive player.”
Australia are ranked a lowly ninth in T20 ranks despite making it through to the T20 World Cup final in 2010.
But Inverarity said the rankings didn’t accurately reflect the talent of the squad.
Australia’s batting is set to be their strength, with heavy hitters David Warner and Shane Watson leading off the onslaught before captain George Bailey, David Hussey and Mike Hussey anchor the middle order.
And if Australia suffers an early collapse, wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, White and allrounder Dan Christian will be on hand to steady the ship.
Australia play pool matches against Ireland and West Indies, with teams that qualify to line up for three Super Eights matches followed by Colombo hosting the semi-finals and final.
Inverarity praised the Big Bash League for helping Australia’s T20 players develop their game.
But with talk of Olympic track champion Usain Bolt and his fellow Jamaican sprint star Yohan Blake possibly joining a Big Bash franchise this summer, Inverarity said the league should be careful it doesn’t turn itself into a “novelty” event.
Meanwhile, Queensland paceman Alister McDermott has been named the replacement for injured speedster Clint McKay (hamstring) in the upcoming one-day tour of the United Arab Emirates.
McKay will be reassessed next week to determine his availability for the T20 component of the UAE tour but it is hoped that he’ll be fit for the T20 World Cup.
© AAP 2013
Aust T20 squad: George Bailey (capt), Dan Christian, Patrick Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hogg, David Hussey, Mike Hussey, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson (vc), Cameron White.