Matthew Wade has been named as captain of Victoria for the 2013-14 season, ending the decade-long tenure of Cameron White as the state's leader. Wade, 25, lost the Test wicketkeeping position to Brad Haddin this year but has been identified by the national selectors as a man with leadership potential, having been appointed vice-captain to stand-in skipper Shane Watson for the Delhi Test against India in March.
Wade will have big shoes to fill, for only Queensland's Stuart Law has captained more Sheffield Shield victories (35) than the 33 to which White has led Victoria. White became the youngest player to captain Victoria when in 2003-04 he was appointed leader of the one-day side and he took charge of the first-class team the following season, ultimately captaining Victoria to the Shield titles in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
However, White has personally struggled for big runs in recent seasons - his 144 against Queensland in February this year was his first Shield century since 2008-09. The Victoria coach Greg Shipperd said he hoped the change in leadership would give Wade a valuable chance to show his captaincy credentials while also allowing White to focus on his own performance.
"Cameron White has been an incredible leader for Victorian cricket," Shipperd said. "His appointment helped usher in a decade of success and his contribution to the state's success during this golden era cannot be underplayed. In more recent years he's transitioned into a coach, as well as a player, imparting his vast knowledge of the game and its unique conditions to the younger members of our squad.
"We hope the freedom to concentrate on his game allows Cameron to perform at levels that will demand interest from the national selectors. His recent form is encouraging and it appears as if he is set for a big season.
"It's an incredible opportunity for a talented young cricketer in Matthew to establish and grow his leadership, which has already come to the fore during his performances for Victoria in the early stages of his career, and to demonstrate to the national selectors his potential in the role."
Wade remains Australia's first-choice gloveman in ODI and Twenty20 cricket and is currently in the UK for the limited-overs series that followed the unsuccessful Ashes campaign. He has been Victoria's preferred wicketkeeper for six years, since moving from Tasmania, and he said he was looking forward to taking the state captaincy with a five-man leadership group to support him.
"It's a great opportunity for me, but most importantly a really big honour to take the captaincy over from Cameron and keep this team moving forward," Wade said. "Victoria's got an unbelievable history ... we want to keep our history and our tradition going forward and we want to get better and better each year. [Cameron's] going to be a leader around the team no matter what, it doesn't matter if he's got a [leadership] tag."
White, 30, has captained more one-day matches (71) than any other player in Australian domestic cricket and led Victoria in 159 fixtures across all three formats. He was also appointed captain of the national T20 side in 2011 and led Australia to two wins from six matches in charge, before being succeeded by George Bailey.
"It has been a great honour to have led the state over the last decade," White said. "To have been entrusted with such responsibility so early in my career was extremely daunting, but I know I have never deviated from my commitment to the team and we have achieved much over that period.
"There is always a degree of disappointment that accompanies decisions such as these, but moving on, I congratulate Matthew on his appointment and commit my total support to him and my team-mates. I would also like to thank my coaches, in particular David Hookes and Greg Shipperd, for the faith they showed in me initially and the continued support they provided. I now look forward to the season ahead and a continued contribution to Victorian cricket."