Whiting wasn’t sitting in front of his TV nor was he in the stands of an international venue ” he was at the other end, combining with Bopara for a 195-run third wicket partnership, a stand that remains a club record.
The then 19-year-old Bopara played eight games for Rockingham-Mandurah in 2004-05, a stint that Whiting believed was no doubt helpful in preparing the all-rounder for an international career in the game.
‘He was an absolute talent, put in a lot of hard work, was diligent with his training and it was obvious to everyone at the club that he was something special,’ Whiting said.
‘Like all players who have progressed from the club to first-class and representative honours, we feel a great sense of pride in him for having gone on to fulfilling his talent and that we played a part in preparing him.’
Bopara arrived in Perth as part of a development program with his English county club Essex, which saw other future international cricketers including current England captain Alastair Cook and Ryan ten Doeschate (Netherlands) play in the WACA district competition that season.
In his eight matches, Bopara scored 568 runs, which included three centuries and included that club record partnership with Whiting.
He has since represented England 13 times in Test matches and nearly 100 times in one-day international matches.
‘Everyone likes to see Australia win, but I still keenly watch when he’s playing and hope he does well,’ Whiting said.