White slams Aussie selectors for ignoring domestic form
VICTORIAN Bushrangers veteran Cameron White has slammed Australia's selectors and lamented the current domestic landscape, which he believes dilutes the importance of Sheffield Shield cricket.
White made more runs than any other player in this season's Matador Cup, averaging 76 for the tournament with two half-centuries and two tons.
Despite impressive numbers that complement his excellent Shield form, the 33-year-old hasn't represented Australia since January 2015.
Even when spots opened up due to injury, poor form or rest and rotation, the selectors have opted for younger players to fill the breach.
And White is not happy.
"I'm just a little worried to be honest, on the importance the selectors are putting on domestic cricket," White told RSN 927 Breakfast radio.
"For years, the strength of the Australian game has been the domestic game. I'm just not sure that there has been much importance put on that and it worries me for the future of Australian cricket and the strength of Australian cricket."
Without mentioning his name, Sam Heazlett appears to be White's case in point. With no one-day games for Queensland under his belt (but six for the national performance squad, making one ton and two 50s), he was thrust into the green and gold at Eden Park on Monday and made four in Australia's thrilling loss.
All up, none of the top 18 run-scorers in the most recent 50-over Matador Cup carnival are in the Australian one-day team.
Moises Henriques was second to White for runs scored, while Daniel Hughes, Alex Doolan and Callum Ferguson rounded out the top five. Nic Maddinson (ninth) got his crack at Test level shortly after the Matador Cup, but is yet to play ODI cricket and hasn't earned a T20I cap since November 2014.
"We've seen with selection over the last period of time that the Big Bash seems to be the be-all and end-all," White said.
"You can get picked to play for Australian in any format out of the Big Bash, really. It doesn't make a lot of sense.
"I grew up watching and dreaming of playing for Australia and thinking 'how hard is it going to be to get a game for Australia and earn the absolute right?'. Now it sort of seems like in some terms and some stages is a development team. For me, playing for Australia isn't about giving you a chance to develop. Domestic cricket is where that happens and at Futures League."
White is not against playing youth per se, rather he just believes it should be 'the right' young players that are given the opportunity represent their country - taking particular issue with an incessant and fundamentally flawed search for "the one".
"I hear about 'the one' - like this next-generation player we are looking to find. Well, aren't they the easiest players to find?" he said.
"The Ricky Pontings of the world that play at 17 are absolute freaks. You don't need to search for them. They are the absolute gun players. Those outstanding players play when they are young because they are ready.
"I'm not against young players playing at all. I'm just not sure about them coming into the Australian team to develop."
White has played 155 first-class games since debuting as a teenager in the 2000-01 season. Back then, franchise cricket did not exist and red-ball cricket was a clear priority for any aspiring Australian representative.
Now he is concerned the goalposts have shifted for all the wrong reasons.
"The worry for me is that if I'm a young player sitting at home, I'm thinking I'm not going to worry about state cricket, I'm just going to put all my energy into the Big Bash," he said.
"Whatever I do, I'm just going to try and get a Big Bash contract somewhere because I know that's a great opportunity to picked for Australia."