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Thread: Mike Whitney

  1. #1
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Mike Whitney

    Just been having my usual look at Australia 1984-1988/89 (it's a period that fascinates me) and I spotted something I'd never noticed before.

    Mike Whitney, who played 2 Tests in 1981, represented Australia just twice more between the time which encompassed the loss of several fine bowlers (the retirement of Lillee, the defection of Hogg [Rebel tours and retirement], and the temporary loss Alderman [Rebel tours] and Lawson [injury]) and things looking-up again in 1989. He did get recalled again in 1991 (from whence onwards he made 8 Test appearances over the course of the next year), but by this time Australia's bowling stocks were generally pretty strong again.

    Now, for some of this '84-'88/89 time bowlers like McDermott, Reid and Hughes, who would all go on from 1989 onwards to be excellent Test bowlers, played, and that was fair enough. Even so, none particularly distinguished themselves '84-'88/89, and McDermott and Reid were injured often.

    But then you look at the list of poor performers who also appeared in that time: seamers John Maguire, Jeff Thomson (yes, he was useless by that time and should never have played), Simon O'Donnell, David Gilbert, Steve Davis, Chris Matthews, Tony Dodemaide, and also spinners Tom Hogan, Greg Matthews, Bob Holland, Murray Bennett, Ray Bright, Peter Sleep, Peter Taylor, Tim May and Trevor Hohns. It seems incredible that Whitney got just 2 games out of 46. I mean, he wasn't an outstanding bowler, but he sure as seems to have been a damn sight better than most if not all the above.

    If there's any Aussies of the right age (Sean, Burgey, Sean, JBMAC, etc.) around, I wonder, could you tell me - why on Earth didn't Whitney play more? Looking at CricketArchive he seems to have had big injury problems '83/84-'85/86 (didn't play at all '84/85), but then onwards is a mystery. Was it just bad selection, or something more sinister?
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    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    A possible reason is that Mike Whitney is insane. Anyone who has watched him in the ICL will know what I am talking about,
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    He was lucky to ever play for Australia at all. In 1981 he was in England playing Sunday League and Second XI Cricket for Gloucestershire. Australia had a fast bowling crisis and Whitney just happened to be the only Australian cricketer in England who was available (I vaguely remember talk of a couple of club cricketers in the Lancashire League being considered). If they'd had time to fly someone over from Australia he would have been no where near selection (not unlike Tony Pigott's only appearance in a Test in New Zealand). Had he not been thrust into the limelight then it's possible he would never have been considered for Australia at all. He did okay briefly when chosen again several years later but there's no way he was ever a candidate for a long Test career.

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    He should have been considered more often, though. The perception was that he wasn't able to bend the ball back and I remember jokes between commentators whenever he got the occasional wicket with an in-ducker. Still, I remember the general feeling when Greg Campbell made the 1989 Ashes tour ahead of him and it wasn't very positive for Campbell. I guess the Blue Baggers were upset someone got the nod ahead of one their own for a change.


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    Request Your Custom Title Now! Burgey's Avatar
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    I think after he debuted, there was a perception he was a bit of a wild child, and of course he was no where near ready.
    Then he had that injury, before coming back in 1988-89 and taking 11 wickets (I think) v WI at Adelaide, which was the last test before the Ashes. Then he was left out of the squad to tour, which was pretty damn unlucky for him. IMO he certainly should have gone then.
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    World Traveller Craig's Avatar
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    First time I had ever heard of him was from Who Dares Wins.
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    He kept out Hadlee in the last over of the third test at Melbourne in 1987/8. I've never forgiven him for that...

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lillian Thomson View Post
    He was lucky to ever play for Australia at all. In 1981 he was in England playing Sunday League and Second XI Cricket for Gloucestershire. Australia had a fast bowling crisis and Whitney just happened to be the only Australian cricketer in England who was available (I vaguely remember talk of a couple of club cricketers in the Lancashire League being considered). If they'd had time to fly someone over from Australia he would have been no where near selection (not unlike Tony Pigott's only appearance in a Test in New Zealand). Had he not been thrust into the limelight then it's possible he would never have been considered for Australia at all. He did okay briefly when chosen again several years later but there's no way he was ever a candidate for a long Test career.
    I'm aware of the circumstances surrounding his debut, and as mentioned by others he was obviously not someone who should have been playinig back in 1981. However, as I said - there were many bowlers who performed extremely poorly for Australia throughout the time he was out of the side. He might well not have been a candidate for a long Test career, and had he played, say, 1986/87-1988/89 he might easily have done as poorly as the rest who did so.

    But if he hadn't been considered it'd seem something of an injustice. Maybe there were others too, those who didn't ever play, and who I haven't even looked at because of that.
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    Hall of Fame Member social's Avatar
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    Should've played a lot more

    Had horrific knee injuries (I played an A grade game with him 2 days after an arthroscope - sums up his character really) but was really looked down upon for 2 reasons:

    1. Struggled to move the ball back into the bat consistently (not that it affected his wicket taking ability or prevented him bowling out the world's best team on a flat deck, mind you); and

    2. Had a run-in with one of Oz's leading players during a shield game which came back to bite him on the bum later in the form of selection bias

    Was never going to be a great but was acknowledged by his peers as being far better than some of the others that played during this period
    Last edited by social; 03-05-2008 at 05:57 AM.



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