Matthew Wade, Australia's stand-in captain for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, will return home from New Zealand due to a back injury. Wade will return to Melbourne, where he will undergo treatment in a bid to help him return to full fitness ahead of Australia's training camp in Dubai in preparation for the Test tour of India later this month.
Wade, who was appointed captain for the series in the absence of Steven Smith and David Warner, injured his back during training ahead of the series opener in Auckland, which Australia lost by six runs. Aaron Finch, who stood in for Wade as captain in the first ODI, will take charge in the remaining matches, in Napier ( February 2) and Hamilton (February 5). No replacement has been named, which means Peter Handscomb is likely to continue as wicketkeeper.
"With Matthew not being fit for Thursday's game in Napier it has been decided to send him home for an assessment and treatment in Melbourne, with a view to him being fit for the tour of India and the training camp in Dubai that precedes it," John Orchard, Cricket Australia's chief medical officer, said. "We are hopeful this injury will settle down relatively quickly and that he will be able to participate in that tour without any issues."
Wade, too, clarified that the nature of injury wasn't serious and the decision to return home was precautionary. "It's not a major injury but with the short turnaround between matches and the four-and-a-half-hour journey by bus to Hamilton for the next match, it's been decided it's best for me to go home and get some treatment in Melbourne," he said. "With Dubai and then India I'd say I'd definitely be right for that. I'll get that bit of treatment in Melbourne and we're hopeful it'll be fine by Sunday or Monday, and I can be on a flight to Dubai and start training pretty much as soon as I hit the ground there."
Wade said the lower back injury that he picked up while diving during a routine fielding drill had flared up previously, and the subsequent recovery had been swift. "It's happened to me once before, in Ireland a couple of years ago. I did it the day before the game then and was right to go the next day. This one's just taken a little bit more time and there's no reason why that's happened. Sometimes you recover really quickly and at other times it's a little slower.
"It's heartbreaking I couldn't take the field as captain but it's been a real honour to have been appointed captain and to be able to lead the group in the time I've been here in New Zealand. And after all, it's all about the team, it's not about me. Hopefully we can win the next two games and win the series."