Cameron White should be in the World Cup squad

Date: October 17, 2014 / Posted by Glenn Mitchell

WhiteAustralia has just reclaimed the world number one ranking in the one-day arena with its 3-nil sweep of Pakistan in the Emirates.

It is a result that provides a fillip for the side heading towards the World Cup to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand in the New Year.

The team claimed the series against Pakistan under the leadership of George Bailey with regular skipper Michael Clarke sidelined with injury.

Another first-pick player was also absent with Shane Watson at home nursing a calf injury.

Mitch Marsh was called up as his replacement but was soon omitted himself when he succumbed to a hamstring complaint.

The tinkering that had to be undertaken by the selectors ahead of the tournament provided further merit to Australia’s series victory.

It remains to be seen what further tinkering will be required ahead of the World Cup.

It is the sport’s primary – and some say only truly meaningful – one-day international tournament.

And, like the Olympic Games, it comes around once every four years.

Historically, hosts do not fare well come the pointy end of the tournament – India became the first nation to win a final on home soil when it triumphed over Pakistan when the event was last held in 2011.

Australia will carry that pressure into next year’s event.

The squad that defeated Pakistan numbered 14.

Come the World Cup the squad size will be 15.

Just who makes that 15 will be a growing talking point as the tournament gets closer.

Of the squad in the Emirates there are several players who are very much borderline when it comes to selection for the World Cup.

Phil Hughes played just once in the series, scoring five in the final match at Abu Dhabi.

Like his Test career, his ODI appearances have been spasmodic and he has never been able to nail down a regular berth.

Given the pitches in the UAE Australia chose two spinners – Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty.

Only one will be chosen for the World Cup with support roles to be filled by the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith.

It is also unlikely that Sean Abbott and Kane Richardson will make the cut.

At present I think there are 13 players who are almost certain to be selected – Clarke, Aaron Finch, David Warner, Smith, Bailey, Watson, Brad Haddin, Maxwell, James Faulkner, M Marsh, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Lyon (who I think will edge out Doherty).

That leaves just two spots up for grabs should that be the case.

The strong contingent of pace bowling all-rounders lessens the need for the selection of too many specialist quicks.

The selectors will likely opt for one other with James Pattinson, Ryan Harris, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Josh Hazlewood all strongly in the mix.

That leaves one more spot for a top-order batsman.

For mine, I think there is only one real choice and that is Cameron White.

Whilst there may be a temptation to go for a younger batsman given the World Cup is THE tournament I would be selecting someone of White’s experience and history.

He has played 87 ODIs – albeit the last of them was in Dhaka against Bangladesh in April 2011.

He is a power hitter with a career-strike rate of 80 and from his 44 T20 internationals boasts a strike rate of 134.

His form in this season’s domestic one-day competition has been strong with scores of 50 (46), 107 (84) and 102no (101) amongst his five innings.

He has a cool head under pressure and proven leadership skills.

Along with Bailey he would be a valuable lieutenant for Clarke.

At 31 years of age White may not return as a long term member of the team however he has unquestionable credentials to be in the squad for the World Cup.

Post that event the selectors could well look to the next staging of the event in 2019 and set about integrating younger players into the system.

But World Cups are rare commodities and the best squad as a result should be chosen.

And for mine, White is in that category and should be there.

First published on The Roar – theroar.com.au – on 16 October 2014