White can be a winner

Cameron White is no Shane Warne. Other than being Victorian leg-spinners with blonde hair, their bowling styles are quite different. Warne likes to mesmerize batsmen with flight, dip, and prodigious turn – White bowls it a lot quicker and doesn’t turn the ball a long way.

Terry Jenner, the Australian spin guru (who also helped Warne now and then, in spite of not knowing how to bowl a flipper till he was 47!), has been quoted in the press:
"Bryce McGain wasn't going to bowl medium-pace leggies," spin coach Terry Jenner said yesterday.

Jenner is one of many in Australian cricket who believe White is a strong, improving cricketer with a lot going for him - aggressive batting, cricket smarts and brilliant reflexes in the field.

But the capacity to be a frontline Test spinner, no matter how desperately Australia needs one, does not at this stage appear to be one of them.

"I am at a bit of a loss because I go back to what his mentor David Hookes always said, that Cameron was only ever going to play for Australia as a batsman who could bowl a few overs. I don't think much has changed since then, even though he tries his heart out," said Jenner.
Cameron White came to India (Chennai) in April 2002 as a member of the Commonwealth Bank Cricket Academy tour. At that time, he was more famous for leading the Australian U19s World Cup victory. We had a long chat about bowling leg spin in India, not that I played international cricket… still, even to this day, I can bowl a flipper and a googly. I remember telling White that it is not ‘how much you turn the ball that matters in India, it is how quick you turn the ball.’

By then, he had watched on TV, Sachin Tendulkar rocking back and cutting and driving Shane Warne’s big loopy leg breaks. I told him, if you want to be a successful leg spinner in India, all you have to do is look at the Indian leg spin greats like Chandrasekhar and Anil Kumble. Someone like Kumble is not a big turner of the ball, but bowls it in quick enough not to give the batsman a lot of time to adjust, yet turns the ball ‘enough’ to take the edge. Kumble’s method has been a huge success when you compare that of Shane Warne’s.

In India, Kumble has played 62 Test matches, taking 347 wickets at 24.27 and a strike rate of 58.2. Warne played nine Test matches in India, taking 34 wickets at 43.11 and a strike rate of 81.0.

Shane Warne did quite well in his last series in India, when he bowled a lot more quicker and a great deal of control on the turn he was getting.

In 1997-98 Warne played three Tests, took 10 wickets at an average of 54.00 and a strike rate of 100.2

In 2000-01 Warne played three Tests, took 10 wickets at an average of 50.50 and a strike rate of 91.30

In 2004-05 Warne played three Tests, took 14 wickets at an average of 30.70 and a strike rate of 60.00

Australia lost the series in 1997-98 and 2000-01, and won it in 2004-05. Says a lot.

I’ll be happy if White does well in this ongoing Test series. White can be a winner; he just needs to believe in himself and the method he employs.

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