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Thursday, 12 September, 2002, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Great White hope
The crowd at Wantage Road saw a stunning innings
The crowd at Wantage Road saw a stunning innings

Rob White, the young Northamptonshire batsman who cracked a remarkable 277 on day one of the match against Gloucestershire, is a "natural dasher", according to his coach.

And, as the 22-year-old himself revealed in an interview for BBC Sport Online, he likes taking on the fast bowlers.

"Recently I've been taking on the short ball and it's been going quite nicely.

"Simon Jones and Steve Harmison are two of the quickest bowlers in the country and I've taken seven sixes off them.

Rob White: Essex-born but devoted to Northants
Rob White: Essex-born but devoted to Northants

"I try to be very positive, and I play my shots off front and back foot."

Nick Cook, the second XI coach at Wantage Road where White has played most of his cricket for the last couple of seasons, revealed that White's new position as an opener had come about more by fault than design.

Cook, the former England Test off-spinner, told BBC Sport Online: "We would both agree he would probably be a tad happier batting a little lower in the order.

"Prior to this match, most of the batting success he has had has come in the middle order."

White was born in Chelmsford, Essex, but was seven years old when his family moved to Northants where he first played for the under-10s.

He went to Stowe School in Buckinghamshire before starting a politics degree in Durham.

But he left after a year to move to Loughborough, and made his second XI debut for Northamptonshire in 1998.

Although he was named the county's young player of the season in 2001, his real upward progression has been during this summer.

Cook said: "He got a hundred in one second XI game, and then two hundreds in each innings of a match against Sussex.

Is there a touch of Larkins about White?
Is there a touch of Larkins about White?

"Then, when an opportunity came in the first team it was a question of you open or you don't get a game. He's taken his opportunity with both hands and from a coaching point of view that's exactly what you want.

"He's a dasher, he's young and he's in a rich vein of form but he knows if he's going to be an opener for the next 15 years to tidy it up a little bit.

"But he's got a good cricketing game and he's a pretty relaxed, happy-go-lucky lad."

White made his first team debut in 2000 against Oxford University before playing two other matches last season.

Now, however, he looks set for a decent run with the senior side, and his case is helped with Mal Loye, Adrian Rollins and Russell Warren all leaving the club.

Of his own form, White says: "I just try to be nice and positive and put the bad balls away.

"I didn't have that great a start to the year at Loughborough. Then when I came back to the county I asked to go up the order to get some early runs.

A little luck

"With Mike Hussey leaving, there seemed to be an opportunity up there."

He admitted he needed a little bit of luck on Wednesday.

"When I was on 20 I edged a ball between two slip fielders who left it for each other, I was caught off a no-ball just after 100 and dropped in the covers before I got to 200."

But he still became only the third Northants batsman to reach a century before lunch, after Colin Milburn and Wayne Larkins.

Whether he turns into a Larkins or a Milburn, or becomes something of a Graham Gooch - his childhood hero at Essex - time will tell.

Links to more Northamptonshire stories are at the foot of the page.


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