Australia in England 2012

Wade out to cement wicketkeeper position

Daniel Brettig

June 25, 2012

Comments: 45 | Text size: A | A

Matthew Wade was named Man of the Match, West Indies v Australia, 3rd Test, Roseau, 5th day, April 27, 2012
Matthew Wade's Man of the Match performance in Australia's Test win over West Indies in Dominica proved his ability to adapt to new conditions © AFP
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A word of warning to England, Brad Haddin and Tim Paine: Matthew Wade is out to make the Australia wicketkeeper's spot his own on this tour. As Michael Clarke's team prepared for what is expected to be a testing warm-up against a strong Essex team at Chelmsford on Tuesday, Wade said he was not simply in England for a first glimpse of the northern sun and softer, seaming pitches, and intended to make himself indispensable for future assignments.

Having earned his way into the ODI and Twenty20 teams over the past 12 months, Wade added the Test berth in the West Indies, deputising for Haddin after he flew home to be with his ill daughter. Wade grew impressively in poise and performance across the Caribbean trip, culminating in a century to clinch the Test series for the visitors in Dominica. Compelling as it was, Wade remains wary of others ready to take the spot back.

And they will be after his place should Wade have one poor tour or match: Haddin retained his Cricket Australia contract and will be considered for Australia's next Test match, against South Africa in Brisbane in November. Paine, meanwhile, has shrugged off a serious finger fracture and will don the gloves for Australia A against England Lions after the ODIs have concluded.

"Experience over here is a big thing for me, but I want to play well over here, I don't want to just get the experience," Wade said at Lord's. "I struggled early in the West Indies tour trying to get used to those conditions, we were only there for a couple of days before we played the first one-dayer.

"So this two weeks coming over earlier has been a great help for me and some of the younger players that haven't played over here before. We've got a chance to play a little bit of cricket, some trial games and build momentum into the series. I want to play good cricket and hope to cement my spot in the team."

Part of Wade's challenge in England is to make a success of a floating position in the batting order that may vary anywhere between Nos. 1 and 7. He went out to meet the new ball with David Warner at Leicestershire but was then dropped down to seven against Ireland to accommodate Peter Forrest at No. 3 and Shane Watson opening.

"Luckily I've done it a little bit for Victoria so it's not mentally a big swing for me," he said. "I've opened the batting for the last three or four years at home and then before that, so it's not a huge swing, as long as I know a few days out what I'm doing and I can prepare for that.

"Sometimes batting down the order can give you that little bit of freedom you need. Obviously opening the batting over here is going to be quite difficult and early wickets are a key, so sometimes it's nice to go down and just be able to free the arms a little bit."

Wade certainly did so in his century against the West Indies at Windsor Park, showing how much he had learned over two months on low, spinning pitches with a furious sprint from 50 to 100. It was a game-shaping innings, justly acknowledged with the match award, and a piece of footage that England's analysts will have pored over.

"I haven't looked back too much at that tour. But it's nice to come off the end of a tour doing what I did and leading into another tour with a little bit of confidence," Wade said. "Depending on where I bat I've just got to play my role in the team and fingers crossed that I can do that.

"I'm not sure quite what to expect. I've spoken to a few of the senior players and the swing conditions here are obviously different at the top of the order, the wickets will play a part, but I'm not 100% sure. I'm open-minded going into this series, soaking it all in and trying to learn as much as I can."

From behind the stumps, Wade has seen Australia's pace stocks improve, and had little hesitation when queried on whether the tourists had the firepower to dislodge England's in-form opening combination of Alastair Cook and Ian Bell.

"We've got three or four blokes who bowl over 150 kilometres an hour - it's been a bit of a nightmare in the past few weeks facing those guys in the nets," Wade said. "So absolutely we've got the firepower to counter those guys. In any ODI your top two or three batters are important, if they're scoring hundreds you're going to win the game, so hence their record is outstanding at the moment, and we've got to find a way to dismiss those guys and also find a way for our top three or four batsmen to score big scores."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (June 27, 2012, 6:00 GMT)

@Hyclass, well said. Being able to turn 5-250 into perhaps 7-370 in the space of a session can decide a match. Wade has already played one test innings like this and it was a clincher. Paine on the other hand looks like he's going out to bat for a draw, even in ODI's. Wade can be a dynamic match winner with the bat, the others i'm not sure about and he's still just 24 years old, he may not yet be anywhere near his best and he's already very good. He should be playing for Aus for the next ten years and break a lot of records I would say.

Posted by kensohatter on (June 27, 2012, 1:37 GMT)

@gordo... Chris Hartley is 30 and not a long term option for Australia. I agree in his day he was of international standard by why test him at international level in the event of wades injury when Haddin has already proven himself. Hartley was unlucky to keep during the era of Gilchrist just as Berry and Emery were unlucky to miss out during the years of Ian Healy. Its unfortunate he may never play a test but thats sport... Imagine how all those awesome domestic batsmen of the last decade feel now. Siddons, Law, Cox, Hodge etc all would have walked into todays test team but happened to bat during an era of australian dominance where only the no.6 spot was up for grabs and Ponting and blewett grabbed that

Posted by Gordo85 on (June 26, 2012, 16:02 GMT)

Wade is the best that Australia has at the moment and as far as being able to play goes a very good second spot to me should be Chris Hartley and yes I am saying durring the time Paine takes to get back into his best. Hartley should be the second keeper to Wade based on what Hartley has done for so long and yet the beauty of this is he is still younger than Haddin. For years I have been watching Wade perform and wonder how much longer it would be until an Victortian Keeper would ever keep for Australia since it had been noone since the 1980s or even longer. For awhile there Wade couldn't get a hundred in Domestic One Day but once he did that he took off and became a better limited overs batsmen/keeper. This is just so silly that Haddin gets looked into as second keeper yet Hartley made lots of runs at First Class level last season and in a crunch match in a Pura Milk Cup match final where he won Queensland the title. Lets hope he isn't a new Darren Berry who never plays for Australia.

Posted by Cricordia on (June 26, 2012, 16:00 GMT)

LOL..cricinfo says HUGE SCORE.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 26, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

@EnglishCricket on (June 25 2012, 14:10 PM GMT) I honestly think this T20wc is very very open and any of the established 8 nations can win it. WI are 9th ranked but guys like Narine will be more effective in SL and we all know what guys like Gayle , Smith , Bravo and Pollard can do with the bat. India are 7th but they have so much talent on paper and in SC conditions.SA have AB , Steyn,Morkel, Ind have Sehwag,Kholi,Dhoni , NZ have Guptill,Vetori,Ryder , Pak - Afridi , Ajmel,Gul , Aus have Warner,Hussey,Lee , SL - Sanga , Jaya , Malinga. All it takes in this fmt is for one or 2 of those players to shine and they can take the game away from any side. I'd actually say we (Eng) without KP , have the least big name/ impact T20 players out there but we somehow seem good at this fmt

Posted by pom_don on (June 26, 2012, 14:26 GMT)

Shame the Aussies are getting out to an 18yr old school kid!

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (June 26, 2012, 13:50 GMT)

Not a great start for the Australians gainst Essex, is it? Both openers slog a few and then out... Wonder was it the 'switch-hit' they got out to! LOL

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (June 26, 2012, 13:26 GMT)

That is a great team Aus have out for the Essex game. Smith AND Doherty in one glorious dream team!!!???? Am I dreaming? I am. The two bowlers in the world who represent everything Warne wasn't- ie hopeless. And only two recognised batsmen in Watson and Clarke. It's not whether Eng can beat Aus. it's whether Essex can beat Aus. Easy street!!!It's not even April 1st. WI nearly beat this crew and we all know what they are like.

Posted by hyclass on (June 26, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

@zenboomerang...I feel you've hit on a valuable point in discussing Gilchrist that is relevent to all the aspirants.Gilchrist was a very fast natural scorer & the scoring rate of keepers is vital to the outcome of matches.When they open in ODIs,its obvious,but when they bat at 6 or7 in Tests,which is often the case,they have the capacity to quickly swing the game at a time when opposition may feel they are on top-an important psychological advantage.Most batsmen have a peak natural scoring rate after which their average starts to fall away.Australia were extremely lucky in having one of the greatest strikers of all in Gilchrist.England's Prior has an exceptional 55 Test record that includes a S/R of 65.I cant imagine a better batsman/keeper in world cricket at this point.I believe part of Haddin's value is his scoring rate in all formats.Its why I rate Wade's reasonable S/R far ahead of Paines glacial one.Bradman valued scoring rates highly.So did Steve Waugh.That's good enough for me.

Posted by 5wombats on (June 26, 2012, 12:00 GMT)

Randyoz - and "muppet". These are words that go together well. Wasn't that a Beatles song?

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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