Australia in West Indies 2012 April 1, 2012

Wade guaranteed a baggy green


Matthew Wade has a week to contemplate his receipt of a baggy green cap after the national selectors guaranteed his place as Australia's wicketkeeper for the first Test against West Indies in Bridgetown.

In naming the team for a three-day fixture against a West Indies Board XI at the Three Ws Oval from Monday, the national selector John Inverarity rested Wade, David Warner and Michael Hussey - all three tagged for major roles against the hosts in the three Tests to follow. Peter Nevill will take the gloves in the tour match and thus walk his first steps in the national team uniform, but short of a bad training accident it will be Wade who dons the gloves at Kensington Oval from Saturday in the absence of Brad Haddin.

Though he was always the next man in line once Haddin was forced home by personal reasons to be with his family in Sydney, Wade's displays in the limited-overs matches have oscillated between the capable and the awkward. However he will gain confidence from the knowledge that his Test place is now certain.

The match offers the returning captain Michael Clarke and numerous others a chance to get acquainted with Caribbean cricket. Ed Cowan, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris and Michael Beer will all play their first active part in the tour, Beer allowed to bowl though nominal 12th man for what has been deemed a first-class engagement.

There is a buoyant mood around Barbados about the prospects of Darren Sammy's team following tied ODI and Twenty20 series, in which Australia's cricketers were confounded by opponents who demonstrated far more resilience than may have been anticipated. While three Tests promise to offer a much more complete examination of a team, the Australians have grown rather more guarded about the battles to be fought across the next month in Bridgetown, Port of Spain and Roseau.

Ponting, who first toured the West Indies in 1995 and has witnessed both memorable victories and stunning defeats in the region, said the team had spoken frankly of the task ahead following the undulating path followed during the limited-overs leg of the tour.

"[It is] hard to make judgements on them after just one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket," Ponting said. "The thing that always tests out countries without great depth is Test match cricket. The Kiwis are probably a really good example of that, In Twenty20 and one-day cricket they're always very competitive but once the longer version of the game comes around they find it hard to win games.

"You've got to give the Windies credit for what they did in the one-dayers and T20s here, but I guess by the end of the Test matches we'll have a better idea of where they're at. We spoke yesterday about how competitive they'll be and we have to be prepared for that.

"We're definitely not taking them for granted or taking them lightly. I guess that's a big part of my job in the next few days, to make sure we don't get too carried away with things and preparing as we would for one of the powerhouse nations in world cricket."

Led by the wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh, the WICB President's XI is dotted with players of Test match ambition and potential, alongside a few experienced heads including Fidel Edwards, Devon Smith and Baugh himself. Johnson Charles and Kieran Powell have the chance to follow up on their appearances in the limited-overs matches, Powell in particular wanting to make a better impression in creams.

"I am very much looking forward to the game," Powell said, having also shrugged off illness since he was dropped from the ODI team following three slim scores. "It is a wonderful opportunity not only for me, but the other players on the team to go out there and do well.

"I have done some technical work with the coaches to help overcome some of the errors I have made, but I was sick over the last week, and did not train too much. I think things have been coming together nicely over the last few days and I believe I am in a much better place now."

WICB President's XI squad Carlton Baugh (capt, wk), Ryan Austin, Nkrumah Bonner, Johnson Charles, Kyle Corbin, Fidel Edwards, Jason Holder, Delorn Johnson, Nelon Pascal, Kieran Powell, Devon Smith, Devon Thomas.

Australians Ed Cowan, Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke (capt), Peter Forrest, Peter Nevill (wk), Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Lyon, Michael Beer (12th man but can bowl).

Edited by Brydon Coverdale

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mariam on April 3, 2012, 15:33 GMT

    Bring in Hughes, why isn't he in the squad

  • Mariam on April 3, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    Ponting takes any opportunity to take focus from the fact that he is playing only for the money and that all his runs have come on flat tracks such as the Adelaide oval. He won't be able to stand up to the english attack in their conditions and will be forced out by the selectors just like he was for the ODI squad. Put the team first punter and retire now while you are on top. Mark my words, punter will fail in England and will be forced out by the selectors because the man is holding onto his spot selfishly and not giving other youngsters a go who are ready to represent their country. The English attack won't be as forgiving as the Indian attack.

  • John on April 2, 2012, 17:18 GMT

    I really hope people don't expect too much of Wade. Let's face it, he's NOT Adam Gilchrist. He never will be and nobody will ever be as good as Gilchrist was. More than likely the pitches will be similar to the ones in the first few ODI's. - Difficult to bat on. Don't expect too many runs from EITHER side. The fact is that Wade is far and away our best candidate (Nevill has done well but not for as long as Wade has). His glovework has impressed me every time I've seen it. He's got good footwork (both while batting and keeping) and rarely looks like dropping anything. (Hope I'm not jinxing him here). The mistake that we (both fans and selectors) have made recently is to expect youngsters to come into the side and instantly be superstars. It happened with Khawaja, I hope it doesn't happen with Wade. He needs to be given the proper opportunities and assurance of his place in the side. I hope he does well.

  • Randolph on April 2, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    Great to see Wade getting a baggy green. Definitely not sold on him yet, but hope he can prove me wrong by replicating his shield form at the international level.

  • Jordan on April 2, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    i read in the paper that had dins toddler has cancer and that this is the "personal issues." Good luck to him and his family!

  • Bryn on April 2, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    Nightwing32 -- it goes without saying that everyone is hoping the best for hadds and that everything is ok

  • hari on April 2, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    An interesting and tough series for the Aussies. After the way they drubbed India the stakes are quite high but they are in a different world and playing under different conditions. Quite a few new comers will be tested. Cowan, Warner, Wade in batting and Pattinson, Lyon in bowling. Wade will also have to adjust to keeping to the variable bounce these wickets offer. Wade's personal form is also very crucial as the lack of form was one of the negatives of Haddin in the past few seasons. If Wade can contribute with a couple of 50s he will gain in confidence and will give a lot of depth to the Aussie lineup. Clarke has his task cut out as most of his players are playing for the 1st time in the Carribean and will have to adapt very quickly to perform. Anything less than 3-0 will exhibit the chinks in Aussie armour. Like Ricky said, it is the Tests which will separate the teams and his guidance should bring back the winning habits to the team. Waiting to see how Watson takes the No.3 role.

  • Tim on April 2, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    @Wefinishthis, Siddle is the leader of our attack and one of the best quicks in the world right now. Hilfenhaus proved this summer that he has improved a lot as well. Copeland can barely get a wicket in First Class cricket at the moment and Cutting and Coulter-Nile have been slowed down with injuries. I don't know if you're looking at the form from the 2009-10 season or something but you've got it wrong with our bowling attack.@Ras, relax about the IPL, the best players will play, those who don't are either not good enough yet or not committed to West Indies or Test cricket so wouldn't do well anyway.

  • Dummy4 on April 2, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    Well I havent really read this article very carefully but i have heard that wade hasnt played a FC game in 4 months. I feel it is a negative decision that the team management is not giving wade a fc game for practice before the bridgetown test.

  • Dummy4 on April 2, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    Wade now has the chance to impress in the tests after an average tour so far and he isn't certain to keep his job next summer. Paine is a better all round player. Despite their first class averages, Paine has a better technique for test cricket. Don't discount Haddin returning. Cricket Australia knows the strain his daughter's cancer has had on his form and will probably forgive him for that when he returns. Hope little Mia makes a full receovery!

  • No featured comments at the moment.