Australian legend Justin Langer has shovelled praise on emerging Bunbury cricketer Sam Whiteman as the Western Warriors’ rookie prepares to take on some of the world’s best players.
Whiteman, who has been in the runs for WA this summer, has been named in the Cricket Australia Chairman’s XI for a three-day tour match against Sri Lanka which starts in Canberra today.
Langer, who was last month appointed as WA coach, gave a gushing assessment of Whiteman’s progress and told the South Western Times the young gun had made a “tremendous” start to his career.
“I love his work ethic and his passion for the game,” he said.
“He is also very focused on performing well. These things are usually a good formula for sustained success.”
The clash at Manuka Oval is Sri Lanka’s only warm-up ahead of their first Test against Australia, which starts in Hobart next Friday.
The contest will likely pit Whiteman against some of the sport’s biggest names, including prolific Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene, 2011 ODI Cricketer of the Year Kumar Sangakkara and veteran Tillakaratne Dilshan.
There is plenty at stake in the match featuring some of the country’s best up-and-coming batsmen, with Usman Khawaja and Alex Doolan both in the mix to replace Ricky Ponting in the Australian team for the first Test.
Whiteman said he had been shocked to learn of his selection.
“I’m sure there is a pretty big gap in between State level and international level,” he said.
“I’m starting to get pretty confident in Shield cricket and it will be good to see the level and play against an international team.”
The young gun, who has been picked as a batsman for WA, will also take the wicketkeeping gloves in the tour match.
“It will be good if I can remember how to put them on,” he joked.
“It’s been a couple of months since I’ve done any keeping.”
Whiteman, 20, has turned heads this season after slotting seamlessly into WA’s Ryobi Cup and Sheffield Shield line-ups.
He has shown himself to be a capable batsman with several starts and some lone hands.
Earlier this month he engineered a standout Shield knock of 96 against Tasmania and an impressive 74 against SA in a one day fixture.