Qantas ODI Tour of New Zealand 2017
Wade to take Australia ODI captaincy in NZ
Wicketkeeper becomes 24th man to captain one-day team with Steve Smith out with injury
27 January 2017, 07:44 PM AEST
Matthew Wade has been confirmed as Australia's 24th one-day international captain for the three-match Chappell-Hadlee Trophy series against New Zealand.
The wicketkeeper-batsman was picked by the National Selection Panel, and endorsed by Cricket Australia's Board of Directors to lead the side with both Steve Smith and David Warner out of the Qantas Tour of New Zealand.
Smith was this morning ruled out of the three-game Chappell-Hadlee Trophy ODI Series that begins in Auckland next week after sustaining what is thought to be a mild "sprain" to the medial ligament in his left ankle. Warner has been rested from the ODI tour ahead of next month's four-Test series in India.
Smith's injury also saw 21-year-old up-and-coming Queensland and Brisbane Heat batsman Sam Heazlett added to the touring party.
CA's Interim National Selector Trevor Hohns said Wade was the "logical option" but a recall for the rested Warner had been considered.
"We had a few options as captain in the absence of Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner but Matthew Wade was the logical option given his leadership experience with Victoria and the fact he is very much a leader within the group already," Hohns said.
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"We did discuss the situation with David Warner, but after doing so the NSP made the decision that it was in his best interests and in the best interests of the team that we continued with our original plan to give him a break for this series.
"That was our call and, that way, we will ensure David is fresh and ready to go in the build-up to the Test series in India that follows.
"With Steve not fit to play we have taken the opportunity to introduce another exciting young player to the Australian team environment and international cricket by including Sam Heazlett.
"Sam showed last summer what a talented player he is by averaging over 40 in his debut season at first-class level and he impressed again when playing for the National Performance Squad against 'A' teams from Australia, South Africa and India in Townsville and Mackay during this past winter.”
A vice-captain for the New Zealand tour has yet to be confirmed.
The elevation to one-day cricket's top job in Australia comes in the same week Wade revealed he was keen to leave his post as captain of the Victorian Bushrangers and return home to Tasmania.
Wade, Australia’s incumbent Test and one-day international gloveman, will end an almost decade-long playing career and four-season captaincy tenure with Victoria to move back to Hobart for family reasons.
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He made his Test and ODI debuts in 2012 and replaced Brad Haddin as Australia’s first-choice ‘keeper, before Haddin was reinstated a year later.
Wade returned to the Test side this summer, replacing Peter Nevill in the wake of Australia’s series defeat to South Africa in November.
"Being asked to captain Australia is obviously not something I was expecting and it is still sinking in, but I am hugely honoured by the decision of the selectors and the Board of Directors and very excited about it," Wade said in a statement.
"With Steve Smith and David Warner absent it’s an opportunity for me to captain the side for three matches but I’m not about to change too much and it’s a case of trying to continue the disciplines that have earned us success in the recent past."
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Smith was a shock late scratching from the New Zealand tour, not long before the Australia squad was due to depart for the short flight across the Tasman.
"It was decided an hour ago that I've been ruled out of the New Zealand series," Smith told reporters at Adelaide airport before boarding a flight home to Sydney to begin his rehabilitation.
Quick Single: Smith ruled out of NZ tour
"I've got a medial ligament injury to my left ankle, they think it's a 7-10 day injury and I wouldn't be fit for the first game (in Auckland on Monday), I'd be very unlikely for the second game (in Napier next Thursday) and a possible for the third game (in Hamilton on Sunday, February 5).
"We've got a lot coming up so they think it's an opportunity to rest it and be right for India.
"It's a bit of a shock. I just landed really awkwardly on my foot and I felt something straight away.
"I was a little bit concerned, I've never really injured my ankle like that
"I was in a bit of pain last night, I injured it and went off and got it strapped and looked at and was in a reasonable amount of pain in the field.
"I was struggling a bit after the game last night, and it was about seeing how I woke up this morning and I woke up in a reasonable amount of pain again.
"They think it's just a medial ligament sprain but I'm having an MRI this afternoon to see if there's any more damage.
The Test skipper had an MRI scan upon his return to Sydney on Friday afternoon to ascertain whether the injury picked up while fielding during his team's 57-run ODI win over Pakistan at Adelaide Oval on Australia Day was more serious than first thought.
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Smith remains confident that the initial prognosis of 7-10 days' rest and treatment should see him fit to join his teammates for the week-long training session in Dubai that precedes the Qantas Tour of India.
He was due to fly to Dubai direct from NZ on February 6 with fellow members of the Test squad who are taking part in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy series, but is now likely to delay his departure for the Emirate until he is fully recovered.
But his absence from the NZ tour caused a headache for the National Selection Panel, which met via a phone hook-up to decide on the new skipper, which then had to be ratified by the CA Board.
Smith's deputy David Warner had already been pencilled in for a rest during the three-match series beginning January 30, with selectors confirming earlier this week the vice-captain would benefit from a quick break ahead of Australia's Test tour of India later next month.
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Smith said he was disappointed to be ruled out of the Qantas Tour of New Zealand, particularly in light of the batting form he found himself in at the end of the Australian summer.
"Every series is important and I would have loved to have been in New Zealand, I feel like I'm batting really well and when I'm batting well I want to keep going," he said
"So it's disappointing from that aspect but we've got pretty big fish to fry in India shortly, so hopefully the boys will be able to do the job in the Chappell-Hadlee Series without me.
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"I've got to listen to the medical staff and see where things go from there, but they're confident that everything will be okay from Dubai and on to India as well.
"I don't think I'll be hitting balls (during his rehabilitation) which is a bit disappointing, I'd love to be hitting balls.
"I'm not really sure what I'm going to be doing.
"Rest, recovery, some ice, those kind of things to try and get it right as quickly as possible."