Bushrangers gain wicketkeeper-batsman May 8, 2007

Tasmania's Wade moves to Victoria

Cricinfo staff

Matthew Wade played his first, and so far only, state one-day match in 2006-07 © Getty Images

Victoria have signed Matthew Wade, the Tasmanian wicketkeeper-batsman, in a move Wade hopes will increase his chances of playing state cricket next season. Wade, 19, made his limited-overs debut for the Tigers in 2006-07 as a specialist batsman but managed only one match.

With Sean Clingeleffer re-establishing his place in the Tasmania Pura Cup team and Tim Paine looking settled behind the stumps in the one-day competition, Wade believed his opportunities in his home state would be limited. "Tasmania has a strong squad and I'm really grateful for the time I spent there, but the reality for me was that I was third in line as far as the keeping position was concerned," Wade said.

"I'm hoping that with a fresh start with Victoria and more hard work, I can create greater opportunities to play state cricket. I'm really looking forward to joining the Bushrangers." Wade, a left-hand batsman and former Australia Under-19 representative, could pose a serious threat to Adam Crosthwaite, who has established himself as Victoria's first-choice wicketkeeper over the past two seasons.

Greg Shipperd, the Victoria coach who has also led Tasmania, saw Wade's development as a young player and was thoroughly impressed. "He's a pocket rocket," Shipperd told the Herald Sun. "What he does do is score hundreds, and he has consistently done that since his junior days. He's got a good technique, really solid. He could really challenge as a batter and a keeper. And it will present Adam with a serious challenge with healthy competition for a place in the side coming into the group."

Tim Coyle, the Tasmania coach, said Wade was a talented player and the Tigers had offered him a two-year senior contract to entice him to stay. "We understand that Victoria guaranteed him selection in its Pura Cup team to win his signature," Coyle said.

"We are not in a position to guarantee any player a game of first-class cricket as we prefer to see people earn the right to represent Tasmania at this level. But in saying this, we wish Matthew all the best for the future." Wade, who was named Tasmania's Young Player of the Year in March for the second consecutive season, is part of the 16-man Australian Institute of Sport intake for this year.