Australia v India, CB series, 1st ODI, MCG February 5, 2012

Wade not looking too far ahead


Has Brad Haddin played his last one-day match for Australia? Matthew Wade is not allowing himself to think that way, but it is a scenario that becomes more likely with every game Wade plays. Two Man-of-the-Match performances for Australia in the past week have confirmed Wade as a player of international standard, and it would be a brave selection panel to drop him later in the series.

For now, Wade, 24, has been picked for the first three matches of the tournament. The national selector John Inverarity said when announcing the squad that Haddin, 34, was rested, but Haddin took issue with that wording and said he felt as if he had been dropped. Either way, Wade is doing his best to make the limited-overs wicketkeeping position permanently his own.

His 67 in Australia's win over India at the MCG was the sixth-best score by an Australia ODI debutant, and he showed no nerves facing the reigning World Cup holders. That followed scores of 72 and 32 in the two Twenty20 internationals, but despite his strong form Wade insists he is looking no further ahead than the three matches for which he has been chosen.

"I think that would be a bad option for me," Wade said. "I just want to do as well as I can in the three games for which I've been picked. If you look too far ahead you don't know what's going to happen. It's a pretty fickle game that we play. From day to day it changes. You've just got to live in the moment and concentrate on the next ball. It's pretty clichéd but that's what I'm doing.

"The environment that I'm in, the Australian cricket team, no one is talking about what will happen down the road. Everyone is just focusing on the next game; all our planning, all our meetings, all the stuff we do is pretty much for the next game that we're going to play. It's all about what we can do in the present moment."

For Wade, that means making runs and taking catches. Given the chance to open alongside David Warner, he anchored the innings either side of a long rain delay, displaying impressive concentration and temperament. He does not have the power of Warner but rarely gets bogged down, and he has looked comfortable at international level. It has not all been easy, though.

"The intensity," he said when asked what was the major difference from domestic cricket. "When Mike [Michael] Hussey walked out and started running between the wickets like he was there was definitely a step up in intensity. I think that's the major thing. Everything is just a bit faster. When you have to run with Mike it's even harder."

He did not have much trouble keeping up with Hussey, although twice during his innings he needed to dive full length to make his ground. At 170 centimetres, he does not have the stretch of some of his colleagues. That has not hurt his effectiveness with the bat, nor with the gloves. In Friday's T20 he took a terrific catch diving to his right to get rid of Virat Kohli.

In the first ODI he pouched a pair of catches and one of them, Gautam Gambhir's edge to a rising ball from Mitchell Starc, came through with surprising bounce at an awkward height. Effortlessly, Wade switched his hands from facing downwards to skywards, and he gloved the ball with no problem. His critics have questioned whether his glovework is up to international standard, but Wade believes he has never been in better form behind the stumps.

"I definitely feel like I'm keeping as well as I ever have," he said. "To be in the environment of the Australian cricket team, I'm catching more balls every day. Things are going really well. I feel on top of my game."

For now, he has two more matches to present his credentials. After that, it's up to Inverarity and Co. to decide whether he wins the job permanently. Haddin will be watching on nervously.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on February 7, 2012, 2:04 GMT

    @zenboomerang - not sure on your reasoning regarding Gilly, but one thing I am absolutely sure on, is that Hartley is the best KEEPER in the country. Unfortunately, since Rod Marsh, & definately since Gilchrest, Oz selectors require a keeper who can almost hold a spot on his batting alone. Hartley is behind Haddin, Neville, Wade & Paine on that count (maybe even Dunk too!). He won't replace Haddin, but that will primarily be because of his batting & age. A bit like Seccombe before him!

  • Hamish on February 7, 2012, 1:22 GMT

    @zenboomerang haddin is not a better keeper than Hartley based on anything I've seen from either of them in the last few years. As far as batting goes Haddin definately was ahead of Hartley but he's fallen away a lot recently. Payne has had 2 years of problems with his fingers so he's going to have to show that he can come back before he's considered.

  • Hector on February 6, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    @Brutha_Bruce...How can this be hard on Haddin???? NO! It would be even more 'Hard' on Wade to drop him or not select him when any expert will tell you Wade is a superior batsman and clearly a better more reactive wicket keeper. The positive banter with Doherty and others was great for team morale. You ask Doherty who he would prefer behind the stumps. Haddin used to be very negative to him. Haddin is a hack...should never have been picked in the first place and hopefully never to be seen again. Even Neville is superior in all respects and I hope both Wade and Neville get to go and dabble in Voodoo stuff together while developing their awesome talents.....(um, in the West Indies!)

  • Bruce on February 6, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    Wade sure does seem on top of his game but I also think the selectors have been somewhat hard on Haddin. I recall Haddin making 42 not out in the first innings of the Adelaide Test against India when Michael Clarke decided to declare; denying Haddin a 50. It seems Haddin is still able to perform well when the team is in a strong position. Perhaps he needs to be given another chance to find his form.

  • Roo on February 6, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    @Anthony Swann... By your logic on Hartley(av31) & nearly 30y.o. with a low FC average - Gilchrist would never have played for Australia... Wade(av40) & just turned 24y.o.... Peter Neville(av49) & 26y.o. - Hartley has 5x100 / 18x50 in 126 FC innings - Wade 4x100 / 17x50 in 74 innings... Hartley would never replace Haddin or Paine whom are both better keepers...

  • Jason on February 6, 2012, 3:16 GMT

    Unfortunately, the Australian selection panel is known for picking out of form players. But then, by some small minor miracle, they didn't pick Marsh for this ODI series!! Are things really changing? Haddin has been on the way out for almost 2 years and Wade has made his mark. It should be a no-brainer, but sometimes even no brain is too much to ask for from the selectors.

  • far on February 6, 2012, 2:42 GMT

    Wade keep up the good work with the bat and gloves and you will make it hard on them to replace you

  • Tim on February 6, 2012, 0:50 GMT

    Wade is saying all the right things. He neednt look ahead. But the selectors should. A West Indies tour coming up is the perfect time for a few test debutants and wade should play every ODI from here on.

  • Hamish on February 6, 2012, 0:44 GMT

    He looked decent keeping to the quicks. A couple of times I thought he was going up too soon when keeping to spinners so that's something I think he needs to work on. I'd be happy to have him in the 20/20 and the ODIs but I'd prefer to have Payne behind the stumps in tests (assuming he recovers and gets back to where he was) but the choice is down to Wade or Haddin give Wade a baggy green

  • Andrew on February 5, 2012, 23:41 GMT

    @Anthony Swann, massive fan of Hartley, his FC ave is a little misleading as his recent 3 or 4 seasons are closer to 45. That being said I thought Wade was sharp in the T20s, so what do I know!!!! @Dylan Crasto - Haddin was our 2nd best batsmen against the Poms in the Ashes LAST SEASON! He also scored crucial 50s against the Saffas & Kiwis in the last 6mths! His keeping has been up & down, & yes I do agree Wade is the man, but, it's not quite clear cut! @Behind_the_bowlers_arm - I agree, although, in the past Oz haven't really tried to drill the squad to take to a W/Cup until about 18mths out. Can't hurt to have one spot pencilled in now though hey?

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