Wade unfazed by heavy workload
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