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Wade owns sub-par returns with bat

30 September 2017

Martin Smith, in Nagpur


Martin Smith, in Nagpur


Incumbent Australia 'keeper defends his work behind the stumps but admits he needs runs

Having often been criticised for his glovework, it's been Matthew Wade's batting that has put his chances of a first Ashes campaign this summer under a cloud.

Wade has failed to make a double-figure score in his past seven international innings across both Test and one-day cricket and he was axed for Australia's match against India a week ago.

With the Magellan Ashes series less than two months away, Wade will be desperate for runs in Tasmania's three Sheffield Shield matches ahead of the Gabba Test to hold off strong pushes from NSW 'keeper Peter Nevill and uncapped South Australian Alex Carey to take the gloves against England.

Batting has long been regarded as Wade's stronger skill and three international centuries, as well as 15 at domestic level, underline why the likes of former skipper Ian Chappell has said in the past the left-hander could hold his spot in the Test side purely as a batsman.

But the 29-year-old says the message from the selectors in recent weeks has been that it's his batting, not his work with the gloves, that needs a lift.

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"The selectors haven't told me they've got any worries about my 'keeping," Wade said in Nagpur ahead of the fifth ODI against India on Sunday. "It's got nothing to do with that, I just need to score some runs.

"My performances with the bat haven't been good enough. 

"That's what the selectors have told me, that I need to score some runs so I'll have to do that if I want to get picked."

While Wade's glovework on the recent Test tour of Bangladesh came in for criticism, particularly after he conceded 30 byes in the first Test, he says the fact opposing 'keeper Mushfiqur Rahim let through 22 byes himself in that match underlines how challenging conditions were behind the stumps.

Coach Darren Lehmann and fielding coach and former Test gloveman Brad Haddin both praised Wade for the way he kept in the second Test on that tour and he says he's been satisfied with his glovework this year.

"I thought I kept quite well," he said of his performances in Bangladesh.

"I know there was a lot of talk over the first Test with me letting through some byes. But you only have to look at their 'keeper, who keeps in those conditions all the time, he was pretty similar.

"I thought I took some good chances, especially in the second Test, and I've been pretty good here. On the back of India (for the Test series in February-March), where I thought I kept really well."

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Wade's recent dip in scores comes after he felt he was "batting really well" on the Test tour of India earlier this year; his series average of 32.6 there was superior to those of Matthew Renshaw and Peter Handscomb and he scored more runs in the series (196) than David Warner and Shaun Marsh.

But an average of 20 in 10 Tests overall since he unseated Nevill last summer means he'll need runs at the start of the Shield season to have any chance of holding his spot for the Ashes.

"(The Shield games will) be crucial for my chances but I'm not worried about it though," he said. "I've got to score runs whenever I go out to bat. 

"I've been doing all the hard work, it just hasn't been happening for me yet. A lot has been spoken about the fact I failed in the Test matches in Bangladesh and I failed here (in the one-day series). Before that, I played in India (for the Tests) and I was batting really well.

"I would have like to have scored runs in the last four or five innings, but that hasn't happened. But if you go back to when I was batting in India, I was batting quite well there.

"So it's not panic stations, we'll just keep working hard."

About the Writer

Martin Smith is a writer for He previously wrote for Yahoo!7 Sport and Fox Sports.