Australia news January 11, 2013

Healy slams Wade over glovework


Ian Healy has slammed Matthew Wade's wicketkeeping during the Test summer and said Australia needed to choose their best gloveman for the upcoming tours of India and England. Healy, who watched from the commentary box as Wade kept wicket for his first home summer, was disappointed not only with the way Wade missed opportunities for stumpings and catches, but also what he perceived as a lack of discipline in getting the basics right.

"He's not happy at all. He didn't have a good summer with the gloves at all," Healy told Radio Sport National on Friday. "Even some of the basic stuff that he's not tidying up, he's not getting to the stumps, he's not taking returns well, he's not sharpening up the fielding effort. Even those basic disciplines weren't being created, let alone missed dismissals.

"Nathan Lyon wouldn't have been that happy, there were four or five chances missed from his bowling. He's getting criticised for not taking wickets. These are all the little internal conflicts of an under-achieving wicketkeeper. Matthew Wade says he's still young and he wants to keep improving, but I don't think he's that young. He's 25.

"If he is keeping for Australia, these sort of things have to be done, and they have to be done better. We're playing against Sri Lanka, it's not as if we're playing against South Africa or England for five Tests [where] we need everything taken. He needs to really get a look at what Brad Haddin is doing and try to find a way to get it done himself."

Healy's strong words came as Wade was at home resting from the first two one-day internationals against Sri Lanka, having played more matches for Australia over the past year in all formats than anyone except David Warner. John Inverarity's selection panel is so keen on Wade as a Test player that he even batted at No.6 during the third Test against Sri Lanka in Sydney, and scored an unbeaten century.

That was a position that not even the great Adam Gilchrist occupied on a regular basis during his days in the Test side. Healy is widely regarded as the best of Australia's modern glovemen, while his replacement Gilchrist performed adequately behind the stumps and was brilliant with the bat. Healy said during Gilchrist's time, when Australia had bowlers like Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, they could afford to play a wicketkeeper whose batting was his stronger suit, but not anymore.

"What Adam Gilchrist had was a relevance to his team," Healy said. "He was appropriate to the team. He had a team with a great bowling attack that created more chances than you needed. We haven't got an attack like that now. We've got an attack that if you need 20 wickets in a Test, they might create 18 and you'd better take a half-chance here or there or a great run-out and you might get over the line.

"That's where you don't need a wicketkeeper missing stuff. Right now Australian cricket in the Test form initially needs the best wicketkeeper. We need to find out who that is, and someone who is not making mistakes."

Healy said he could not understand why the selectors had chosen Wade ahead of Brad Haddin at the start of this summer. However, he also said that he believed Queensland's Chris Hartley, 30, was the best pure gloveman in the country but that he was unlikely to earn an opportunity at international level with Wade, Haddin and Tim Paine all ahead of him in the queue.

"I don't understand why they dropped [Haddin] and it's never been explained to me or the public after the West Indies," Healy said. "He wasn't in great form [and] he had to go home and look after his ill daughter. Then when he gets that right and he's ready to play again, he's not picked. I thought that was a bit harsh.

"Tim Paine can emerge without being picked for Australia. Chris Hartley must be sitting in Queensland thinking I'm gone here, even though he's probably the best keeper of the lot. You talk to the players and they say that all the time. He's missed out I'd say. He's 30 and there's three being talked before him."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Robbie on January 14, 2013, 2:25 GMT

    I agree with Healy's comments about Wade, but also think Healy is the most over-rated gloveman in recent years. He was never even the best in Qld while he was playing. Peter Anderson was better in Healy's early years and Healy only got a run when Anderson broke a finger. Then Wade Seccombe was far superior to Healy.

  • far on January 14, 2013, 1:16 GMT

    @ Posted by Meety on (January 13 2013, 08:25 AM GMT) what you say maybe true but why did he not just go and help instead of firing off ?

  • Luke on January 13, 2013, 23:49 GMT

    Yes - thankyou Heals for saying what most of us are thinking! Surely now that the best keeper we have ever seen has spoken, the selectors may listen? It's not rocket science - pick the best keeper in the country - which is Haddin. If age is an issue, go to the next best which is Hartley. Wade isn't even the best keeper for his state!

  • Nicholas on January 13, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    I know Healy; cricket lovers from all over the world have been questioning this for ages. Why drop a 'sort-of' keeper, for a 'sort-of' batsman that wears his shoes on his hands for gloves? Is the cupboard that truely bare?

  • Andrew on January 13, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    @ farkin on (January 13 2013, 07:45 AM GMT) - on TV today, it was claimed the comments were out of context. It was also revealed that Healy will be doing a session with Wade in a few days - the extent of which depends on Rixon & Arthurs.

  • far on January 13, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    Healy slams Wade over glovework . you have to ask if healy seen that did he get off his commentator bot bot to help Wade or just open fire at him

  • Sachin on January 13, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    Sorry but Haddin has past his prime and if Australia wants to take two wk on tours on India and England it should be Matthew Wade and Tim Paine.

  • Philip on January 13, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    The game is the better when specialists play, whether openers, keepers, spinners or quicks. There has recently been talk of developing a rapport between a spinner (Lyon) and a keeper (Wade). A symbiotic relationship between a spinner and a wickie is valuable, but spin hasn't been seen much from Victoria at Shield level lately. This season is no different - leading bowlers are Pattinson & Hastings (22 wickets each), Herrick & Siddle (11 each), McKay (8) and Maxwell (7). Now, irrespective of whether or not one calls Maxwell a spinner or a slow-bowler, it is hard to see, in the absence of Holland (who has no wickets from just 10 overs), where such a rapport comes from. So how many stumpings do Wade and Handscomb have to their credit so far this Shield year? The answer is none. So who has a Shield stumping this season? Hartley, Ludeman & Haddin have 1 each. I'm not too sure that is what we want to see - blank or paltry stumping columns. Our keepers need more opportunities with spin.

  • Rohan on January 13, 2013, 2:12 GMT

    Way to support him Heals! Seems to be a lot of commentators really batting hard for Haddin and others, clearly with their own agendas in place. Healy has declared his in nominating Hartley, coincidentally from Queensland. Failing him its gotta be 35 year old Haddin eh Heals? Tell me Heals, would Haddin have even got near that catch in Melbourne?? No. Haddin PROVED over 12 months his team value and dependability had diminished significantly. Paine was next in line but was injured so Wade was next and has earned a good go. BTW Heals, how'd you go in your first season for Australia? You were called Teflon, among other unflattering names because you weren't that good. You improved so why can't Wade? Funny thing too, you were the same age as Wade is now!

  • Dean on January 13, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    I agree that Wade is not currently a test 'keeper, but it is interesting to recall Healy's history. Whilst he became a wonderful gloveman, he was a very average and inexperienced 'keeper when selected for Australia. The standout at the time was Peter Anderson who, together with Alan Knott & Jack Russell is the best I have ever seen. That he never played for Australia was a cruel travesty but is always the risk for 'keepers. Who knows how good he could have become with international cricket?