Club over State
It seems it has become something of an annual affair. An Australian cricketer being the talking point ahead of the T20 Champions League for reasons outside of cricket. Dirk Nannes’ choice of Delhi Daredevils over Victorian Bushrangers for the 2009 T20 CL led to former Victorian captain Darren Berry questioning his decision. This time it is Cameron White who has “betrayed” his fans at Melbourne by choosing to play for Bangalore Royal Challengers. 2008, the year when the CL T20 was conceived but did not happen, was no different with Michael Hussey‘s choice of Chennai Super Kings over the Western Warriors raising a few eyebrows in Perth.
While Mike Hussey conceded that he had not played a single game for the Warriors in 2008, White has not given an explicit reason. He was part of a couple of Big Bash games but it was David Hussey who captained the Bushrangers in the final as White was busy with his Australian ODI commitments. His success with the Australian ODI and T20I teams has been too good to be ignored by Mallya & Co. Taking his place in the Bushrangers side would be the rookie Glenn Maxwell who is just three domestic matches old. Aiden Blizzard’s shift to South Australia means that Ryan Carters gets a look-in as the backup wicketkeeper.
White has expressed confidence in David Hussey for Victoria to last the course of the tournament. The latter can indeed make as much a difference as White,given that he was the captain during the Big Bash final and has now captained the Nottinghamshire Outlaws in the Friends Provident T20 well enough for them to last till the semi-finals. But fans will be denied a rivalry between the “betrayer” and the “betrayed” unless Bangalore and Victoria get to clash in the semi-finals. Last year Dirk Nannes, while signing up for Delhi, would not have imagined he would be playing against his Melborune mates in the league stage itself. To a Victorian fan, the Daredevils-Bushrangers clash last year would have looked more like a clash between eleven Bushrangers and one Dirk Nannes. Whether Victoria anticipated White’s choice is not known but he is irreplaceable in the Bushrangers team. Alan Hunt,coach of the New Zealand Central Districts,echoes a similar view about losing Ross Taylor to Bangalore “We’ve known for some time he’d be picked up by Bangalore and we’ve been planning for that occurrence. You can’t replace him. He’s our key player and one of our principal run-getters in our success in the HRV Cup last year.”
Opting for a club that is not even five years old and whose players get together only once in a year to play T20 cricket is no better than opting for a state team that has been in existence for decades and whose players are best buddies playing all three formats of the game. But that seems to be the way domestic cricket is headed and it is definitely not a good thing.