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WEEKLY FEATURE - ROBBIE WHITE RELISHES CHANCE TO SHINE VS AUSTRALIANS

4 months ago|Player

Keeping wicket against the Australians at Lord’s can be ticked off Robbie White’s bucket list – his next target is to find a way back into Middlesex’s four-day side.

The 22-year-old stood in for regular gloveman John Simpson last weekend as Middlesex took on the tourists in a 50-over clash, keeping tidily and taking a catch to dismiss centurion Travis Head.

That represented a better experience than White’s last first-team outing at Lord’s – when he played as a batsman and was bowled first ball by Northamptonshire’s Ben Sanderson in the opening game of the season.

Since that setback, White has been piling up runs for Middlesex’s second XI and he could be in the frame again for their next two rounds of Specsavers County Championship fixtures later this month.

Nick Gubbins, Eoin Morgan and Paul Stirling all have international commitments during that period.

“It’s just about trying to push your name up the pecking order and bash that door down,” said White, who attended Harrow School and Loughborough University.

“There are a lot of great players at this club, who are either playing international cricket or are on the fringes, and you never know what opportunities are going to be available.

“For us younger guys trying to make that step up, seeing Eski (Stevie Eskinazi), Gubbo and the like come in and prove themselves at first-team level shows the pathway is there.

“It was almost a bonus to get that opportunity at the start of the year. I wasn’t expecting to start so in a way it was a no-lose situation and I just tried to enjoy it.

“To bat at the top of the order is pretty challenging and early season conditions are tough. It’s a shame it didn’t go well personally, but it was great to get that experience and I’ll learn from it.”

White started out as a part-time bowler but made the move behind the stumps in his mid-teens and became the regular wicketkeeper for Middlesex’s second XI following Eskinazi’s elevation to first-team level.

“When I realised I probably wasn’t going to be 6ft 4in, I decided bowling might not the best plan,” White recalled. “But I think you need a second string – it gives you two ways of getting into the side.

“Even though he’s probably not recognised as one of the great glovemen, I think Geraint Jones had a very positive impact with the bat and he’d get stuck in, often in quite difficult situations.

“He was one that inspired me growing up and (former Middlesex player) Adam Gilchrist was a big one as well, at a time when I was taking cricket seriously and wanted to be a keeper.”

For now, White’s immediate attention is focused on Friday, when he is expected to feature as Middlesex face Worcestershire in the Second XI Trophy semi-final at Radlett.

He added: “Sometimes second-team cricket can be difficult with guys playing for themselves a little bit, but we’ve got a really good culture of everyone wanting each other to succeed.

“It’s not necessarily important to win but having the right mindset and getting over the line is something we’ve done really well.”

Our thanks to Ben Kosky of the ECB Reporters Network for providing this article.

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