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'I'm doing everything I can' - Wade

Brydon Coverdale

October 17, 2012

Comments: 63 | Text size: A | A

Matthew Wade is ecstatic after hitting the boundary to reach his century, West Indies v Australia, 3rd Test, Roseau, 2nd day, April 24, 2012
Matthew Wade's hundred in Dominica was the stand out performance of his first year in international cricket © AFP
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Matthew Wade knows his immediate fate in the baggy green could be in his own hands as the selectors prepare to choose between him and Brad Haddin for the first Test against South Africa. Australia's captain Michael Clarke and national selector John Inverarity have both said in the past few days that the Haddin-Wade decision has not yet been made, which gives both men extra motivation to perform over the next fortnight.

The problem for Haddin is that he is in South Africa at the Champions League T20 and should the Sydney Sixers go all the way in the tournament, he won't have any more Sheffield Shield opportunities to press his case before the decision is made. Although Haddin, who turns 35 next week, made a terrific 114 in his most recent Shield match last month, the selectors will need to weigh up his experience against the youth and talent of Wade.

Wade was given a chance in Test cricket in the West Indies in April, when Haddin pulled out of the tour after his daughter Mia was diagnosed with cancer, and impressed with a century in his third Test. He began this season with 89 in his only Shield match so far and another big innings against Tasmania at the MCG next week could be enough to sway things his way ahead of a battle with the No.1 Test team in the world.

"I feel comfortable within the Australian setup now, I understand what they're all about and what we're trying to do," Wade told ESPNcricinfo. "I feel really comfortable around the team but that doesn't guarantee you selection. It's all about performance from here on in. I've got two more Shield games before the Tests and if I can perform in them, hopefully I'll get picked.

"I can only do what I can control. It was nice to come home early and play at the Gabba and get some runs there. I feel like I'm doing everything I can, I'm playing to the best of my ability. If that's not good enough, that's not good enough. I can only get told on the day whether I'm in or out."

Wade, 24, has racked up three Tests, 25 ODIs and 15 Twenty20 internationals since making his debut just over a year ago, and has gone from strength to strength. Inverarity has been impressed not only with Wade's work for Australia but was also happy with what he saw against Queensland at the Gabba last week, when Wade came in with Victoria wobbling at 4 for 39 and rescued the innings in very trying conditions.

"It shows what a very good batsman Matthew Wade is," Inverarity said. "That innings, in the context of that game was the match-winner. They bowled very well in helpful conditions and that 89 was a very significant batting performance.

"If you go back to February, he played for Australia, then he played on the wickets in the West Indies, then he went to England and played there, then the UAE, then Sri Lanka. The amount of experience he's got into his experience in seven months is fantastic."

It hasn't all been easy for Wade, as anyone who watched the one-day series in the Caribbean could attest. While his glovework was always sound, he found it especially difficult batting against the spin of Sunil Narine, but the way he worked through that trouble and emerged with a Test century in Dominica, having come to the crease at 5 for 157, pleased the coach Mickey Arthur.

"We saw Wadey in the West Indies really battle with the turning ball, he hadn't played in conditions like that before, he didn't have a game-plan, he didn't know how to score, he didn't know where to score off Sunil Narine," Arthur said. "But he worked it out and at the end of the series he got a really good hundred.

"We saw a little bit of that in England, a little bit of that in Sri Lanka, he worked immensely hard through the T20 on his batting, his first-class batting. He learns very quickly. He's like a little kid, he comes and he fights it and he moans and whinges and gets frustrated, but he works hard, learns quick and hopefully he gets the rewards. He's got a good edge to him."

Arthur and Inverarity are both on the selection panel that will make the decision by the end of this month, as is Clarke, who said this week that Wade was "an amazing talent" who "is going to be a big player for Australian cricket over a long period of time". Whether that period encompasses the South African series remains to be seen, but Wade would love the chance to tackle Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel.

"There's no tougher Test cricket than what that will be against South Africa," Wade said. "As cricketers all we want to do is test ourselves against the best players in the world. Their bowlers are the best in the world at times. It's going to be hard work all summer against those guys and then a pretty good team in Sri Lanka coming over as well.

"It's definitely a bigger jump up in intensity [to Test cricket] and you always get that one bowler that troubles you. The pressure is a little bit different. I think a home series is probably going to be even tougher, everyone is watching, but it would be fantastic to play in."

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

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Posted by pat_one_back on (October 19, 2012, 23:32 GMT)

Last year @Hammond, a huge occasion for NZ, rightfully celebrated, funny no-one rates wins over Eng so highly now do they? Aust shooting for No1 next month, so soon I know! With SA still exhausted from belting Eng around for days and days on end, the natural balance in Test cricket will soon be restored.

Posted by Meety on (October 19, 2012, 4:33 GMT)

@G Wilson - no worries - Prior's Test stats do make him the best Keeper/Batsmen in the game currently. I suspect there will be a slight decline in his batting as he has outperformed his FC stats by a long way. IMO Wade is a young bloke who will become better than Prior in both disciplines, but it will probably be more like 3 yrs from now before he is near his best.

Posted by Hammond on (October 19, 2012, 2:56 GMT)

@pat_one_back- actually what is laughable is your comment re: New Zealand. The last time New Zealand beat Australia was?? "The dark days of despair" have only just started for Australia. Enjoy.

Posted by Liquefierrrr on (October 19, 2012, 2:15 GMT)

And just quickly - I'm not a fan of Haddin at all, and haven't been for some time, however his recent FC hundred and the couple of innings I've watched him play in the CLT20 have been impressive, a throwback to what made him the clear replacement for Gilchrist some 5-odd years ago. I'm not necessarily saying that his T20 form be considered for Test Match cricket, however it's the approach and the range of shots he's playing that suggest to me he's rekindled something in his batting mechanics that, in my opinion, have been missing for some time. I guess I'm more saying that he seems rejuvenated and hungry, and resultantly fierce and more brutal, much like his earlier days. This seems to apply to his keeping also. Objectively I'd still prefer Wade to be picked, however Haddin appears to have found some form and energy, playing strokes he hasn't across any format in the last few seasons and looking tighter with the gloves. This is hard for me to admit, but I feel it is fair.

Posted by Liquefierrrr on (October 19, 2012, 2:02 GMT)

@Hammond - without KP England were revealed to be toothless. SAF may be better than us, the last series we played in SAF proves inconclusive, but you have ignored that your side was obliterated by SAF and therefore you (and ENG as a national side) are unqualified to speak as though you are in the same category. Anderson, Broad and Swann struggled against SAF in home conditions, Bresnan (who some of your tabloids lauded as better than Flintoff) took 2/278 and struggled with the bat, and your batsmen did not mark up to the SAF lineup. So let's get this clear - SAF may well be better than Aus, and with the lineup they have that's not an embarrassing concession, however England are nowhere near as good as SAF, and therefore are not worthy of consideration on a life-for-like basis as you've attempted (vainly) to do. England better start scouring the SAF domestic cricket ranks to unearth their next superstar because you are half a side without your current one (KP). Nice try though.

Posted by Meety on (October 18, 2012, 21:46 GMT)

@zenboomerang on (October 18 2012, 07:37 AM GMT) - Haddin's knock in the Ashes was not on a dead pitch. If you had seen that match you would know that the 3rd morning the pitch was still full of lateral movement, Anderson (at the time) was bowling the best I ever saw him, AFTER Lunch the pitch died.

Posted by pat_one_back on (October 18, 2012, 21:36 GMT)

@Hammond, laughable. SA and particularly ENG have nothing over Aust right now, NZ would casually beat Eng on their recent form. Welcome back to dark years of English cricketing despair, Aust's big ship is no Titanic but it has turned, Eng better keep plenty of seats for Foreigners on their deck, face it Flintoff is the only cricketer of note produced from Eng in 20 years.

Posted by   on (October 18, 2012, 14:11 GMT)

yeah meety my comment was a bit of a troll but Prior is still the best for me, runs with the bat & hasnt dropped 2 many chances or stumpings either' cant ask for more

Posted by pat_one_back on (October 18, 2012, 13:18 GMT)

Simply can't go wrong picking a highly driven Hadds whilst knowing there's a line of talent biting at his heels, Paine and others are chomping at Wade's (circumstantial rise). Perfect selection scenario.

Posted by cammo82 on (October 18, 2012, 10:17 GMT)

My problem is this - over the next year or 2 haddin is going to be getting older and at some point start playing inconsistent cricket and will have to be dropped or retire - Wade on the other hand has 10 years before he gets to that age (more exp he gets now the better) and when there is not much difference between the batting ability of both - then really it is an easy choice - our selectors are a little bit bad at the job so I wouldn't be surprised if haddin plays

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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