Aussie Sam's going to be super for Northants says head coach Sadler

Northants will be getting a two-time Sheffield Shield-winning captain as well as a top-class opening batter when Sam Whiteman arrives at Wantage Road this week.
Northants signing Sam Whiteman is all smiles as after leading Western Australia to Sheffield Shield glory last monthNorthants signing Sam Whiteman is all smiles as after leading Western Australia to Sheffield Shield glory last month
Northants signing Sam Whiteman is all smiles as after leading Western Australia to Sheffield Shield glory last month

The 31-year-old Australian skippered his state side to a second successive Shield final win last month, with Western Australia thumping Victoria by nine wickets at the WACA in Perth.

He was also part of the Perth Scorchers sqaud that won the Big Bash League, with WA also winning the the Australian 50-over competition.

They have done the treble two years in a row, meaning they have won the past six major titles on offer Down Under.

Sam Whiteman in action for Western Australia against South Australia at the WACA in NovemberSam Whiteman in action for Western Australia against South Australia at the WACA in November
Sam Whiteman in action for Western Australia against South Australia at the WACA in November

It is further proof for Northants head coach John Sadler that Whiteman is going to be 'a great addition' to the County squad, as much for the 'knowledge' and 'experience' he brings as a leader as his batting.

Whiteman has arrived in the UK in time to make his Northants debut in the LV= County Championship Division One opener against Kent on Thursday (April 6), and he will report for duty in great spirits.

With the bat, the left-hander had a steady season for WA, with the undoubted standout a career-best 193 that made up a large chunk of his 601 runs scored at an average of 31.63.

He also showed excellent leadership to steer WA to another title success, and Sadler will be hoping he will bring that winning know-how to Wantage Road.

Sam Whiteman played for Australia A last DecemberSam Whiteman played for Australia A last December
Sam Whiteman played for Australia A last December

"Sam will be with us for the start and we are looking forward to getting him on board," said the Northants coach.

"He is going to be a great addition for us, and I know he is excited to get stuck into county cricket.

"He is playing for a good team, he is playing in a high-performing environment, the same as the other (overseas) guys we have had recently

"These lads don't just bring their cricket skills, they bring their knowledge, their experience and they help the young lads in the dressing room.

Sam Whiteman celebrates after scoring a century for Western AustraliaSam Whiteman celebrates after scoring a century for Western Australia
Sam Whiteman celebrates after scoring a century for Western Australia

"So we are looking forward to getting Sam with us, and I am sure he will be great."

Whiteman was actually born in Doncaster in south Yorkshire, before moving to Australia with his family when he was just three, but his stint with Northants will be his first experience of top flight cricket in this country.

He has experienced English conditions before, playing club cricket for Weybridge as a teenager and also turning out for Surrey IIs in the summer of 2010.

Aside from that, he has spent his whole career Down Under so it would be understandable if it takes him some time to adjust to chilly English conditions, especially when spring has barely sprung!

Sam Whiteman (centre) leads the Western Australia celebrations after their Sheffield Shield success in MarchSam Whiteman (centre) leads the Western Australia celebrations after their Sheffield Shield success in March
Sam Whiteman (centre) leads the Western Australia celebrations after their Sheffield Shield success in March

But Sadler is confident Whiteman, who can also keep wicket, will quickly get to grips with playing cricket in England in April.

"It might be a little bit different coming from 40 degrees in Perth to whatever degree it will be down in Kent for our first game," he admitted.

"But Sam is experienced enough now that he knows his game, he knows his conditions, and we'll see how he goes."

In his career, Whiteman has now played 85 first-class matches, racking up 4,836 runs at an average of 36.63. He has scored 10 centuries and 25 half-centuries.