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Wade unfazed by heavy workload

Brydon Coverdale

October 29, 2012

Comments: 17 | Text size: A | A

Matthew Wade puts on his baggy green cap, West Indies v Australia, 1st Test, Barbados, 1st day, April, 7, 2012
Matthew Wade wants to be Australia's wicketkeeper in all three formats © AFP
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Matthew Wade is confident he can handle the workload of being Australia's wicketkeeper in all three formats after being named as the side's Test gloveman on Monday. Wade beat the veteran Brad Haddin for a position in Australia's side for the first Test against South Africa in Brisbane, starting on November 9, and it is the first of six Tests this summer, with Sri Lanka to visit in December and January.

The Australians then have five ODIs and two Twenty20s against Sri Lanka, followed by five ODIs and one Twenty20 against West Indies, a four-Test tour of India and then back-to-back Ashes series in England and Australia. Should Wade, 24, remain in the side in all three formats throughout that time it will be a hectic year for him, and he has already had a busy few months, having played 41 matches for Australia since the start of February.

Adam Gilchrist rarely missed matches during his time in Australia's side, although for most of his career he had only two formats to worry about. There were occasions during Haddin's four years in the role that his workload was managed, and he missed matches due to injury, but generally in recent years when an Australian keeper has claimed the first-choice spot it has been hard to prise him out.

"I'd love to hold all three caps," Wade said after being named as the Test gloveman. "That's what everyone dreams of, is representing Australia in all three forms. I'd like to keep in every single game that I can. Like the fast bowlers, if there comes a point where the selectors have to rest me, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. It's been proven over the last ten years that keepers can play every single game, so it can definitely happen."

Wade will join an elite group when he steps out on to the Gabba for the first Test against South Africa, becoming only the fourth Australian wicketkeeper to play a Test on home soil in 24 years. In fact, during Wade's lifetime, only Greg Dyer, Ian Healy, Adam Gilchrist and Haddin have been given the gloves in a Test match in Australia.

The occasion will become even more special for Wade if he holds his place for the Boxing Day Test; not only is the MCG his adopted home ground, December 26 will be his 25th birthday. However, for the time being, Wade has eyes only for Brisbane, where he will have to battle a fearsome South African attack including Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel as Australia begin the battle to wrest back the No.1 Test ranking.

"It's going to be a difficult one," Wade said. "They've got a great fast-bowling attack and a pretty good top six or seven. Every Test team is going to be hard work but South Africa are the No.1 Test team in the world and that's where we want to be. Pup talks about it all the team, we want to be the No.1 team in the world again. There's no greater test than this summer."

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Meety on (October 31, 2012, 23:44 GMT)

@Moppa on (October 31 2012, 07:32 AM GMT) - good one, didn't know it was 3 tons as an opener! Regarding paine - I think the bloke would need a fair few injury-free matches to get the confidence back - where he isn't thinking about his finger. I have seen bits & pieces of Shield & Ryobi this year & he looked okay, (nothing that a non-expert would see as faulty), but he has fluffed the odd chance this season - (not easy ones). I think the selectors will be very reluctant to put any pressure on Wade about his place in the side. So I think he'd have to fall apart badly to not have a whole summer. I think his keeping was in the Windies - so I can't see it being a problem in India. He may need some help/training specific for England - based on ODI performance behind the stumps which was below everything else I'd seen of him.

Posted by Moppa on (October 31, 2012, 7:32 GMT)

@Meety, I did a bit of research on Wade's List A record. Of his 4 List A hundreds, 3 came as opener. He was promoted to opening during the 2010/11 season (after a hundred down at 6 or 7), and made 2 more that season as opener, and then another hundred opening in 2011/12. I haven't seen Paine at all this season, so interested to hear your observations. From what I've seen of him (before his latest injury), he has good footwork and is clean behind the stumps, as well as a good batting technique. Wade will almost certainly get this whole summer, and based on that either go to India and England or Paine might come into the picture (assuming he has a good Shield season, of course).

Posted by Meety on (October 30, 2012, 20:30 GMT)

@Moppa on (October 30 2012, 11:13 AM GMT) - I feel sorry for Paine, whilst I think the selectors are doing everything to give him a shot, I THINK he is not an immediate threat to Wade. Paine is supposed to be the superior keeper, but he has been a touch shaky since coming back from injury & I think the selectors will want a year out of him before thinking about selecting him. I think in Tests, with some question marks around the batting, his superior batting is a big advantage. I agree that Wade seems to like to get a sighter before he gets going. He has batted @ #4 for Victoria a lot in List A, so I don't know that opening was always going to be the best spot. Problem with Paine as an ODI opening batsmen is that he is a lot slower, mainly even with his eye in. So I'd be more wanting to go with Neville for the ODI side. I wouldn't mind Paine being given the T20 gig - even as captain.

Posted by Moppa on (October 30, 2012, 11:13 GMT)

@Meety, I agree with your analysis of Wade's first-class vs limited overs form. I think with Victoria he has mostly opened in List A, at least recently, and I agree that being up and down the order in T20s and ODIs hasn't helped him. Whilst Warner and Watson are obvious choices to open, I think Wade would be better at 3 than 7 (freeing up Mike Hussey for his superman rescue efforts from somewhere like 5), and you could even take the approach of Warner and Wade opening, and if one gets out early, so be it, Watson comes in as a de facto opener anyway. Wade seems to struggle coming in and having to hit from ball 1, particularly against spin. I look forward to seeing him bat in a Test match to see what he's really made of - bring on the Gabba! Overall, I support Wade's selection but I think Paine is close behind, so he'll have to perform consistently, particularly in terms of not dropping catches.

Posted by Meety on (October 29, 2012, 23:33 GMT)

@ jeauxx on (October 29 2012, 11:21 AM GMT) - yes, I am reluctant to "write off" Wade's short form credentials. I am more saying that it appears (particularly if you compare FC to List A stats), that his batting is probably more suited to the longer game. It was probably about 18mths ago or so, that I thought Wade was more of a short form option. @ Chris_P on (October 29 2012, 21:12 PM GMT) - 41 games since February (for Oz alone). I think the article is quite right in saying Gilly didn't have to play all 3 formats all his International career & was still rotated (wisely). So with that in mind, I think that we should be casting the net around a bit in the short forms. If Wade is a premier keeper/batsmen than I want him available & in peak condition for EVERY test match. It would be an opportunity to give Paine, Hartley or Neville a cap or two. I reckon Wade's done a brilliant job coming back from the T20 W/cup - & was fairly well set when he got run out against Tassie!

Posted by ygkd on (October 29, 2012, 21:24 GMT)

@Meety - Agree that Steve Rixon has got to be a good influence. Reckon he probably collected more FC stumpings in his playing career than all of the current state keepers have combined, including Haddin.

Posted by Chris_P on (October 29, 2012, 21:12 GMT)

Workload & burnout is the hidden danger here. it never sneaks up, it hits you almost at once so for that fact alone, selectors should look at easing some of his workload. Certainly, there are plenty of options for T20, even ODI where he can share the workload with Paine & Nevill. We need these guys at peak condition when tests are due.

Posted by RandyOZ on (October 29, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

@ zenboomerang - couldnt agree more. Another bleedingly obvious article from Brydon. Come on mate put some effort into your articles.

Posted by jeauxx on (October 29, 2012, 11:21 GMT)

@Meety. Spot on once again. I remember when Wade made his T20 and ODI debuts. He hit it out of the park and looked the goods for all money. Then in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, he looked bogged down and uncomfortable. I wouldn't write him off, since we know he can hit the sixes and play the big innings - and judging him solely on the Pak series is really not doing him justice. He had to come in and be expected to smack Saeed Ajmal, the best spinner in the world, for sixes in one of his first away tours. Ajmal makes even the best look feeble. England wasn't a good tour for him either, but then it wasn't for any of our batsman. Let's give Wade a few more series before we pass judgement.

Posted by Meety on (October 29, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

@ygkd on (October 29 2012, 08:24 AM GMT) - know what you mean, but I would be hoping he continues to improve & would hope by being a Test specialist, he will stay really sharp. I think what you said about Wade & keeping to Victoria's plethora of pace bowlers has truth to it, although Wade proved himself very well behind the stumps in the WIndies, which I think was a tough assignment. I think he'll do well with Steve Rixon around! As for what you said about spinners - I think alot of it comes down to the pitches. If you look at where a lot of the WIndies are going with their pitches, it's quite amazing that they are getting any quality pacers coming along & its certainly a fraction of their glory days, yet they have quite a few decent spinners coming thru!

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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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