Mike Whitney AM – 40th Anniversary of his Test debut – Baggy Green 313

13th August 2021

Mike Whitney joined the Randwick Club in the summer of 1976 looking to fill in time between South Sydney football and the crashing waves of the Maroubra surf. The fast left-arm bowling talent of the brash, outgoing 17 year old was quickly recognised by club officials and he took his place in the Fourth grade line-up. Match figures of 9-26 in his fourth match was a sample of what was to come in the years ahead.

Mike’s failure to turn up for a match the following season when he sneaked up to the Gold Coast to enjoy his team’s end-of-season, earned him a one match ban and the tag “Crazy” from his cricket mates. The lesson brought a change in attitude which has stood the test of time and proved him to be one of cricket’s greatest ambassadors.

After a handful of games in Randwick’s First XI, Mike debuted for NSW at the Gabba in 1980-81, sharing the new ball with Len Pascoe and Geoff Lawson.

To gain experience, Mike went to England in the 1981 off-season joining Fleetwood in the Northern League competition. After some impressive displays, he played three matches for Gloucestershire in the County Championship taking 13 wickets. While packing his bags for the next county match, he received a dramatic call to go to Manchester instead to join the Australian Test team.

Within two days he had taken the field at Old Trafford, wearing the Baggy Green in the Fifth Test v England and becoming the 313th cricketer to receive the honour. A fairytale debut for the 21 year old whose overall First Class experience totalled just seven matches.