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Matthew Wade taking latest selection audition in his stride with 'nothing to lose'

He expects the wicketkeeper to bat in the top three of the T20 side even when all players are available

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Mr Utility: Matthew Wade has held a variety of roles for Australia  •  Getty Images

Mr Utility: Matthew Wade has held a variety of roles for Australia  •  Getty Images

Matthew Wade expects Australia's wicketkeeper to bat in the top three for the T20I side as he looks to keep hold of the position that is currently his in the build-up to the World Cup in the UAE.
Wade has had the gloves since replacing Alex Carey on the England tour last year but has taken various positions in the batting order. Most commonly that has been at the top of the order, where made consecutive half-centuries against India last year including a career-best 80 off 53 balls, and though there remains a natural spot on the tours of West Indies and Bangladesh due to the absences of David Warner and Steven Smith there will be a squeeze for positions should everyone be available for the World Cup.
While Wade is the incumbent there are plenty of options in the squad with Josh Philippe, who played as a batter against New Zealand, a potential challenger with Carey is also on the tour.
"Think I'll be one, two or three. Batted three in the last T20 in New Zealand, batted at six in the first T20 against India then I opened next two games. I can bat anywhere, that's one my strengths, I've batted pretty much everywhere for Australia," Wade said. "Where ever there's an opportunity I'll go to but I'd assume Finch, Warner then probably the wicketkeeper will probably be at three if not open. We'll work it out as we go but I see myself playing in the top of the order if I'm in the team so we'll wait and see."
These days Wade, who lost his Cricket Australia contract in April after being dropped from the Test squad after the India series, takes a phlegmatic view to selection issues after an international career that began in 2011 has seen him brought in and out of squads on a regular basis.
"Think every time you play for Australia is a bit of an audition, I've never really been a cemented player in the team so it'll be no different going into this tour," he said. "I've played 90-odd one-dayers and every tour I went on a felt like I needed to perform or I wouldn't be on the next tour.
"As I've spoken about before I'm in a different place with my life and my cricket, if I get opportunities to play games of cricket again for Australia whether that be one or two games here or 10 and the World Cup, whatever comes my way I'll take.
"It's about trying to park that, just pushing forward and not sitting on my heels, going out there and playing like I have nothing to lose which I really do. Used to it now for 10 or so years."
If the wicketkeeper, whether that be Wade or somebody else, does sit in the top three it would mean Smith, should he be fit for the tournament as he continues to recover from a recurrence of his elbow injury, likely shifting down a spot to No. 4 with Glenn Maxwell potentially at No. 5.
Smith's most common position in the T20 side has been No. 3, where he averages 39.53 from 15 innings with a strike-rate of 141.59, while five innings at No. 4 have brought an average of 20.50 and strike-rate of 103.79.
However, Smith told on Friday that he would be willing to sacrifice his place at the T20 World Cup in order to be fully fit for the Ashes which begins in early December.
"I'd love to be part of the World Cup, for sure, but from my point of view, Test cricket, that's my main goal - to be right for the Ashes and try to emulate what I've done in the last few Ashes series I've been involved in," he said. "If that does mean not partaking in the World Cup, then we'll have to go down that path, but hopefully we don't have to go there."
Australia did not train on Friday as hurricane Elsa swept through St Lucia forcing the island into a lockdown. Although the main danger has now passed there have been reports of damage from the storm which could yet impact how much the squad are able to do over the weekend.
"We sat by our windows and watched it pass through," Wade said. "We were lucky, think we only got the edge of it. Was like a Brisbane thunderstorm for a long period of time, high winds and a lot of rain. That will probably impact our lead-up and training in next few days but we battened down the hatches and watched it go by.
"I'm not too worried about the preparation. There's obviously guys who want to get out and hit a lot of balls for those lucky enough to play a bit of subcontinent cricket and in the Caribbean it's not too much of an issue, we can tap on our experience and that should hold us in good stead."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo