Fast bowler Peter Siddle believes Matthew Wade would have been “hurt” by Justin Langer’s suggestion the wicketkeeper needs to work harder at training, but he also expects the blunt assessment will spur his Victorian teammate on.
At the end of his stint as caretaker coach of Australia in the Caribbean earlier this week, Langer said Wade could usurp Nevill as the best gloveman in Australia – but only if he adopted the sort of thirst for training that spurred on the likes of Adam Gilchrist and Ian Healy.
“Whether it was true or not (I don’t know), I know personally he does work hard, but JL could be playing a little bit of mind games with him as well,” Siddle told cricket.com.au.
“But at the end of the day everyone can work harder. I don’t think you can pinpoint individuals, it doesn’t matter if you’re Steve Smith or a bloke playing grassroots, everyone can always work harder to improve.
“But knowing Matty, yeah it would have hurt at first to hear something like that.
“But he’s a tough character and it’ll just spur him on.
Langer said an improved work ethic was one of his key recommendations for Wade in his post-series assessment, which is distributed to each player's state coach as well as Cricket Australia's High Performance department.
"I was very lucky to play with Ian Healy and Adam Gilchrist and they always had the best work ethic of anyone in the squad," Langer said.
"I heard (Wade) say a few weeks ago that Peter Nevill is obviously the best wicketkeeper in Australia. Well, I'd like to think Matthew Wade is aspiring to be the best wicketkeeper in Australia.
"If he works hard ... if he has a Healy-Gilchrist work ethic, there's no reason why he can't be the best wicketkeeper in Australia.
"But that's up to him if he wants to really work at that."
While Wade missed some chances during the ODI tri-series, he was relatively tidy behind the stumps, conceding no byes in six completed matches challenging conditions, before scoring a match-winning knock in the final.
Siddle expects Langer’s words will inspire Wade to work harder than ever over the coming months, first in England where the ‘keeper has joined the Birmingham Bears for their final six group games of their England domestic T20 campaign, then back home when he returns to preseason training with the Bushrangers.
"He’s gone to England and work hard and get on the job there," the Victorian quick said.
"He’s always working hard (because) he wants to get back in the test team, that’s his goal.
"Nev’s there now, doing a good job, but you always need to be putting pressure on those guys above.
"Matty will take that as positive criticism and no doubt will work his backside off over in England and when he gets home to improve and try his hardest to get back into all forms.”