Advertisement

Wade says Australia days are done

Tasmanian says he would 'be surprised' if he got another chance at top level, reflects on pressure of difficult summer

When the current Australia cricket summer kicked off in late September last year, Matthew Wade was the incumbent wicketkeeper in two formats of the international game with a realistic expectation of earning the role in the nation's T20 outfit.

Come the first day of February 2018, Wade was not even wearing the gloves for his Hobart Hurricanes KFC Big Bash League franchise and could be found in the final overs of their semi-final against Perth Scorchers patrolling the outfield at deep square leg.

And while the 30-year-old finished that game in triumph - player of the match for his 71 off 45 balls that did much to lift the Hurricanes into Sunday’s tournament final – he also found himself reflecting on an international career he believes has passed.

Wade's berth in Australia’s Test and ODI teams has been filled this summer by his Tasmania and Hurricanes teammate Tim Paine, who was the preferred keeper when Hobart's starting XI was unveiled at Thursday’s coin toss at Perth’s new Optus Stadium.

Wade leads 'Canes charge with flying 71

His place in the T20 team, which Paine held during Australia's most recent 20-over internationals against India late last year, now rests with exciting young Adelaide Strikers opener Alex Carey who also filled in for an ODI when Paine was rendered unwell last month.

So having been effectively axed from three Australia teams in the course of a solitary season, Wade has publicly acknowledged that another recall (after he was summoned from a three-year Test exile in 2016) is about as likely as him being picked as a specialist bowler.

Even though he does quite fancy the quality of the medium pacers and leg breaks that he regularly peddles in the practice nets.

"When you get dropped from all formats, in summer, I would be surprised if they (national selectors) go back to me," Wade said in the aftermath of the Hurricanes’ stunning 71-run win over BBL|07 title favourites.

"I’m disappointed that I didn’t get picked in the one-dayers but that’s just what it is, and my international career is probably a long way away from coming back.

"Alex Carey’s playing good cricket, I would assume he’d be the next option for Australia in short format.

"But I’m comfortable with that.

"I understand that, it’s a reality for me."

But Wade, who was recalled to the Test team in the wake of last summer’s disastrous home series loss to South Africa because he brought such a combative and voluble presence, concedes that realisation did not come quickly or easily.

The Tasmanian, who renounced the captaincy of Victoria that he had held since 2013 when he opted to return to the island of his birth last year, claimed at the time of his omission from Australia’s Test team for the Magellan Ashes Series that he had copped it on the chin.


But it was only when he felt the second hit from that combination blow and was overlooked for the Gillette ODI Series that followed the Ashes that he was able to take a step back and re-assess where he stood in the selectors’ eyes.

And it was at that point he understood how heavily the pressure of forcing his way back into a national team had been weighing upon him.

"Once it was all over I probably relaxed and chilled out, and my performances probably got better from that," he said.

"I didn’t feel like it was taking a toll at the time, but once it was done I was a lot more relaxed and a lot calmer.

"I’m comfortable with that, I got an opportunity to play a lot for Australia and I’m thankful I did get that opportunity.

"Now it’s just about enjoying my cricket for the next three, four, five years hopefully."

Match wrap: 'Canes annihilate defending champs

That enjoyment could conceivably reach a previously unscaled peak as soon as Sunday if the Hurricanes can seal their maiden BBL title, against either Adelaide Strikers or Melbourne Renegades.

The super-aggressive approach they brought as rank underdogs against the competition pace-setters in Perth – having lost their most destructive batter D'Arcy Short to national duties and axed their prized overseas import, Tymal Mills – was carefully planned and flawlessly executed.

Wade’s belligerence at the top of the order was followed by clinical power hitting from Ben McDermott (67 not out from 30 balls) and Dan Christian (37 off 22), and when the Scorchers crashed to 6-65 in the ninth over of their pursuit of 211, the fight should feasibly have been stopped.

It was a brutal end to a tough season for the Scorchers, whose depth and resilience was routinely tested by injuries and player unavailability due to national representation.

McDermott monsters Scorchers attack

And while Wade effectively called time on his own Australia career, it was the ground announcer at Optus Stadium who took it upon himself to 'reveal' that former Test paceman Mitchell Johnson was making his farewell appearance when he walked out to bat at the end of the Scorchers’ innings.

A fact that Johnson refuted post-match, when he told cricket.com.au that he wanted to again turn out for the Perth franchise next summer "if there’s a contract available".

However, Scorchers captain and ex-Test batter Adam Voges did confirm that he was calling time on his career having quit first-class cricket last summer and now deciding that another season of BBL cricket would be too much to ask of his 38-year-old body.

Making it the one retirement announcement from last night’s fixture that won’t be overturned.

Most likely.

big bash fantasy banner