ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2019
'Breathtaking' Wade on another level
Tasmanian endorsed for winter abroad after record-breaking run-fest across Shield and Big Bash seasons
25 March 2019, 07:08 PM AEST
A "breathtaking" Matthew Wade is "batting on another level" says his state coach as his case for a return to the highest level continues to gather steam.
Wade this week joined Victoria and Australia Test opener Marcus Harris as the only players to hit more than 1,000 runs in this summer's JLT Sheffield Shield season, joining Adam Voges and Michael Klinger as the only men to do so in the past decade.
For Wade his 1,021 Shield runs at an average of 60 – with two centuries and eight fifties – came on the back of finishing as the second-highest run-scorer in the KFC BBL where he notched 592 at 42.28 and a strike rate of 146.89.
"I think we saw even in this game (against NSW last weekend) that he's batting on another level to a lot of people in the country," Tasmania coach Adam Griffith said today.
"I just hope that an opportunity arises for him to show what he can do at that (Australia A) level and we'll see what the selectors do."
With only the Shield final left of the Australian summer to be played, focus is increasingly turning to the coming winter and the three distinct Australian men's squads that will travel to the UK.
While the senior World Cup team aims for a sixth title, an Australia A squad will be in action against county opposition and should the national team need any reinforcements, this group would provide on-hand replacements.
The 'A' squad will switch from 50-over games to first-class cricket as the ODI tournament nears its conclusion, with the majority of the nation's Test specialists not already on county contracts expected to come in – including national Test captain Tim Paine.
Wade could conceivably be involved for the duration of the 'A' tour having proved in the second half of the Shield summer that moving up the order and playing as an outfielder while Paine – his Tasmania teammate – wears the gloves did not affect his output with the bat.
Before the Big Bash, Wade had had 571 Shield runs from 12 innings at 63.44 with one century – a knock of 137 – and five fifties.
Since the Shield resumed against the Dukes ball he amassed 450 runs in eight innings at 56.25 with a century of 134 and three other fifties, including the 65 he hit in the face of a NSW onslaught on what proved the final day of Tasmania's season.
"The way he's batting it just shows you his maturity," Griffith said.
"It does come off that he's a bit antsy when he's not scoring and he's facing a lot of balls but what we've learnt with Wadey over the journey now is that if he's there for any period of time, once he feels in and comfortable to flick the switch, it's pretty breathtaking to watch.
"It's a credit to Wadey that he's still learning about his game, still developing, still I think becoming an even better cricketer."
They're strong words from Griffith – who was today appointed Australia's bowling coach for the World Cup campaign to reunite the coaching duo that was previously at the helm of the Western Warriors.
But while Griffith insists he has no official sway in selection he does concede he has been in regular contact with Langer as a sounding board – and isn't afraid to express an opinion.
"JL and I have spoken since he took over the Australian team, he always wants to bounce ideas off me but I have no say in what that squad is," Griffith said today.
"I speak to the selectors in my capacity as head coach of Tasmania and they ask me my opinion on things and I give them. It's all part of trying to increase that communication.
"They (CA and selectors) are focused on making that better and I've got a relationship with JL so we speak about a lot of things. He bounces ideas off me about a lot of stuff.
"I think it's good he's got someone from outside that system but also someone who understands it reasonably well.
"I get asked my opinion on certain things but it's purely just opinion."
Wade spoke with National Selector Trevor Hohns last weekend after he attended the NSW-Tasmania Shield clash in Hobart, which he says provided clarity on his position in the Ashes pecking order.
"Obviously I am happy with the year I have had, I played as a keeper for half the year and basically a batter the second half of the year," Wade said after the game.
"I got to experience both roles and really enjoyed both, happy with how the season went and fingers crossed an opportunity comes at the next level at some stage.
"JL has text me and said 'well done' a couple of times and I had a chat with 'Cracker' Hohns the other day as well.
"I am in contact with them and understand where I'm at and fingers crossed something comes."
Langer and Hohns would undoubtedly have asked for Griffith's opinion on how his 50-wicket taking leading seamer Jackson Bird has been travelling, and would have got an unequivocal response.
"He's taken 50 wickets this year, bowled beautifully, led our attack really, really well," Griffith said of the 32-year-old who's played nine Tests.
"If they need someone of that calibre he's ready to go."
Australia A's first one-day fixture is on June 20 against Northamptonshire, while the red-ball matches begin July 7 against Sussex and will culminate in an Australia v Australia A showdown at Southampton on July 23-26.
Australia A's UK fixtures
June 20: Australia A v Northants (50-over)
June 23: Australia A v Derbyshire (50-over)
June 25: Australia A v Worcestershire (50-over)
June 30: Australia A v Gloucestershire (50-over)
July 02: Australia A v Gloucestershire (50-over)
July 7-10: Australia A v Sussex, Arundel
July 14-17: Australia A v England Lions, Canterbury
July 23-26: Australia v Australia A, Rose Bowl