Highly-rated Western Australian Sam Whiteman is in doubt for the entire Australian summer due to complications from a serious finger injury, with coach Justin Langer conceding the Warriors must "look at the bigger picture" for the wicketkeeper.
A mainstay for the Warriors behind the stumps and a recent Australia A representative, Whiteman fractured his right index finger during Perth Scorchers' Big Bash League final while 'keeping to tearaway Mitchell Johnson.
The left-hander missed the remainder of the season after having surgery on the damaged digit, but the WACA says Whiteman's finger hasn't healed as expected and he's now weighing up whether to under the knife again.
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"Sam Whiteman is continuing to experience ongoing pain and swelling in his left index finger related to the complex intra-articular fracture he sustained in the BBL|06 final," the WACA said in a statement.
"To date, surgical intervention and targeted rehabilitation has been unable to reduce the pain he is experiencing to a satisfactory level for state level wicketkeeping.
"WACA Sports Medicine Staff and Sam are consulting further with hand specialists in the coming week and will soon be in a position to make a decision on the future direction of Sam's management.
"At this stage a timeframe for his return to play is unknown although further surgical intervention is being considered."
Warriors coach Justin Langer revealed Whiteman had sought out the counsel of former Test gloveman Tim Paine, who had his career derailed by similar finger issues.
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"It's really unfortunate, he's had two surgeries now on his finger," Langer said on Monday. "He's seeing another surgeon in a week's time to maybe have a look at having another operation.
"So he could be having extended period out.
"I know he's spent some time talking to Tim Paine who had a similar injury.
"For such a talented kid, who's played in three Scorchers finals for us, he's been part of Shield finals and (WA's 2014-15) Matador Cup win, we're going to look at the bigger picture for him.
"And that's so frustrating for him ... he's having some complications with his finger, so he needs to get that right."
Like Whiteman, Paine had been tipped as a future Australia No.1 wicketkeeper after impressing on the 2010 Test tour of India while filling in for an injured Brad Haddin.
The Tasmanian came close to a maiden Test ton in Mohali with a poised knock of 92 but he suffered the first of a series of setbacks when he hurt his finger just months later.
After a number of solid seasons behind the stumps for WA, Whiteman impressed on his maiden call-up to the Australia A squad in last year's winter series in Queensland.
He notched a half-century against India A and his polished work with the gloves caught the eye of Australia A mentor Haddin, who suggested Whiteman has "all the characteristics" of an international-calibre 'keeper.
"He's got all the traits of a very good 'keeper," Haddin told cricket.com.au at the time. "His work ethic and professionalism is outstanding.
"He was outstanding through all the games that I was around and I'm really looking forward to watching him develop in the next couple of years and putting some pressure on the incumbent for the Australian spot.
"He's got all the characteristics to be a very good wicketkeeper for Australia.
"So I can see no reason if he keeps developing over the next couple of years that he can't put pressure on the guys playing for Australia."
Langer meanwhile had brighter news on the injury front regarding allrounder Mitchell Marsh, who underwent shoulder surgery in March after flying home from Australia's Test series in India.
Marsh had previously outlined his aim to be back bowling at top speed in the early rounds this summer's Sheffield Shield, but Langer said he hoped to have the powerful 25-year-old available for the preceding domestic one-day tournament.