South Africa in Australia 2012-13 October 28, 2012

Wade in Test squad, Haddin misses out


Matthew Wade has been confirmed as Australia's first-choice Test wicketkeeper but Brad Haddin remains a "player of significant interest", according to the national selector John Inverarity. Wade was named in a 12-man squad to take on South Africa in the first Test, starting at the Gabba on November 9, and there were no surprises in the group, with Mitchell Starc included and Pat Cummins, who has not played first-class cricket for nearly a year, left out.

The selectors chose four fast men - Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Pattinson and Starc - along with the offspinner Nathan Lyon, and the main question in the lead-up to the Test will surround the final make-up of the attack. There were no changes to the top six with the opener Ed Cowan given a chance to make the position his own, after beginning his Test career with encouraging but not outstanding performances against India and West Indies over the past year.

The major decision for Inverarity and his panel was whether to give the gloves to Wade, 24, who was wicketkeeper for the tour of the West Indies in April, or return to the veteran Haddin, 35. Inverarity said both men had made compelling cases for inclusion and while Wade had won his place for the Gabba Test, Haddin, who still holds a Cricket Australia contract, remained in the frame for future international selection.

"Matthew came into the Australian ODI team in February and has since acquitted himself especially well," Inverarity said. "Matthew and Brad both went to the West Indies; Matthew as our preferred ODI and T20 player and Brad as our incumbent and preferred Test match keeper. As is widely known Brad returned to Australia early in the tour due to family circumstances and as a consequence Matthew was our Test keeper for the three Test matches.

"He kept and batted very well and made a match-defining brilliant century in the second innings of the third and final Test against West Indies. Since then he has played and gained valuable experience in England, the UAE and Sri Lanka. As a young player, getting better by the month, he is thoroughly deserving of his retention. While Matthew has been retained as the Test keeper, Brad remains a player of significant interest."

The selectors decided against including Cummins, 19, although he is likely to be around the squad in Brisbane to prepare him for a potential place in the side later in the series. Injuries and short-form commitments have meant Cummins has not played a first-class match since his Test debut in Johannesburg last November, and with Siddle and Pattinson fit again after missing Australia's most recent Tests in the Caribbean, the selectors decided there was no reason to rush Cummins.

"We didn't feel as though Pat Cummins was ready to play a Test match," Inverarity said. "We hope he'll be ready to play a Sheffield Shield match soon, and then he's likely to come on the radar for perhaps the third Test in Perth. That's not speculating that he'll be selected for that, but he'll be ready to be in contention at that stage.

"The last Test match that Australia played, the third Test in the West Indies last April, included Ryan Harris. Ryan is continuing his rehabilitation from injury and is unavailable. Peter Siddle and James Pattinson have recovered especially well from the injuries that rendered them unavailable for that last Test in West Indies. In fact, they have been enjoying an ideal preparation for the first Test in Brisbane having played in three Sheffield Shield games with another one to come later this week."

The squad will assemble in Brisbane on Monday and will have three days of training ahead of the first Test. Two Sheffield Shield matches begin on Friday but the New South Wales v Queensland game at Allan Border Field does not start until Saturday and the Tuesday finish means some Test players might miss the final day of the match in order to prepare for the Test.

"I'm definitely playing the Shield game and I'm not sure if I'm playing three days or four," Australia's captain Michael Clarke said. "I think the plan is it will be an individual case, if NSW are batting on day four it'd be silly for the batters to be pulled out to go into camp.

"We're very lucky we're playing in Brisbane so once we finish we can go into camp, but in saying that, if a bowler has bowled a lot in the first innings I think it would be silly to overload them leading into a Test match. Pat Howard's on to that, the plan at the moment is to pull everybody out, but I know he'll make sure he assesses once we get closer to day four."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on October 31, 2012, 23:35 GMT

    @jono Makim - I think Siddle is a certainty (assuming no injuries). I think Patto is about a 99% sure thing. To me the question is the remaining two positions between Starc/Hilfy/Lyon. I would prefer Starc if we had Lyon in the side as I think it is beneficial to Lyon - particularly later in the match! BTW - your friend doesn't seem to get that if "many" people don't get what he says - then maybe he ain't saying it correctly!!!!

  • Andre on October 31, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    As a proudly Protea supporter. I know better, Australia will always be up for it. A series win will be nice but my money's on a draw.

  • cric on October 31, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    Looking forward to the contest of two great sides in world cricket at the moment. Rankings would mean nothing when both teams walk on the field in a few days time as the SA Coach Gary Kirsten said one bad session could cost either team dearly. With so many quality bowlers on both sides, I think batsmen would struggle to pile on big scores. Personally I am looking forward to see how Hashim Amla fairs this time as he seems to be in quite good nick. May the best team win.

  • raghavan on October 30, 2012, 16:42 GMT

    @raj_24 Cummins still looks a fair bit underweight other than the 4 day match practice.

  • Victor on October 30, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    Let's be realistic, the best result aussies can expect in this series is a draw. There is no way this Australian bowling line up will take 20 SA wickets in every test. The Proteas have 4 batsmen who can score big hundreds. The Australian team that was picked on Monday has one and that's the captain himself (may be Ponting if he doesn't have to bat early in the innings). The best result Proteas can expect in this series is 3-0 win. They just need to replicate what they did in England.

  • Roo on October 30, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    @Jono Makim... Like many who reply to my comms you didn't read my post... I did say 2-4 years away which is both logical & realistic as a minimum...

  • Dummy4 on October 30, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    @Beertjie, I hear what you are saying with Rogers. I think the tough series are already upon us though and if Cowan fails here i'd be looking to somebody younger to come in..... @Meety, I think Siddle will almost definitely play, to me it is down to Starc/Hilfy but I don't really think Siddle is one of our best three seamers, hope he proves me wrong!..... @Zenboomerang, not sure we will be seeing Bosisto or Patterson wearing a Baggygreen anytime soon, don't forget White, Henriques and Shaun Marsh were all giants of under 19's cricket! Though Moises is looking good this season!

  • Blessing on October 30, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    Gone are the days i used to look at the Aus line up and shiver with fear seeing the likes of MacGrath,Warne,Gilchrist,Hayden,Waugh in the team...funny how things change... looking at this line up, it really makes me lough to think Aus fans think they can beat SA, be it in their home conditions...tell u what, they will be very lucky to even win one test match out of the 3!!!

  • Bhanu on October 30, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    Lol!! What a 3rd grade team ... I guess this teams gonna get a major drubbing against the Safs ....Overrated openers like Warner are no good and players like Pointing are trying to extend their already extinct cricket career... Though the bowling seems fine but a major drubbing awaits this weak Australian team!!!

  • Dylan on October 30, 2012, 6:39 GMT

    Ben Hilfenhaus is overrated. Bowlers should be Siddle, Starc, Pattinson, Lyon.

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