Sam Whiteman had never faced a bowler of the calibre and ferocity of Doug Bollinger before they clashed in a pre-season tournament in Brisbane last month.
While Bollinger is fit again and hoping to bowl with the impact that saw him become a major player in the Australian team three seasons ago, Whiteman is about to take the biggest step in his cricket journey.
The former Australian under-19 has been rewarded for the strong technical improvements he has made in the off-season and will make his senior debut tomorrow when WA take on NSW in a one-dayer at the WACA Ground.
Whiteman knows that performing against the bustling left-armer and henchmen like Test seamer Trent Copeland is his main objective, and he shares at least one trait with the colourful paceman.
“I like being a pest and will try to bring a bit of humour off the field and annoy some blokes,” Whiteman said.
“But my job is to bat around the big hitters and tick the strike over and run around in the field and be nice and enthusiastic.”
Whiteman will most likely bat at No.5 as the pivot between WA’s experienced top order and hitters Mitch Marsh and Mitch Johnson.
WA intend to thrust more responsibility on senior team members such as Marcus North and Shaun Marsh by batting them at the top of the order while newcomers are blooded in the middle order.
But the challenge of facing two new white balls will maintain the premium on technical acumen, with Whiteman’s solid side-on technique helping him win the State vacancy.
He also believes the experience of facing Bollinger and other seasoned campaigners has prepared him for the task tomorrow.
“I had a good challenge against NSW and the SACAs and I definitely feel that I am ready to go,” he said. “Dougie Bollinger was the hardest to face but I have learned from that experience.”