Wade open to batsman-only possibility

Bushranger determined to claim higher honours as a keeper but Chappell suggestion provokes interest

Victoria's Matthew Wade is open to the suggestion of former Test captain Ian Chappell that he could play in Australia's Test side purely as a batsman, but insists his wicketkeeping has improved markedly over the past few years.

Wade rescued his Commonwealth Bank Bushrangers side with the bat in their Matador One-Day Cup clash against NSW Blues on Sunday, posting an unbeaten half-century after the Vics had slumped to 7-165.

WATCH: Wade lifts Bushrangers with half-century

Batting at No.8, Wade slammed five fours and two sixes in a 65-ball innings of 63 but was left stranded when the Vics were bowled out for 244 with 3.1 overs still remaining in their innings.

Wade took over as Australia's ODI wicketkeeper following the retirement of Brad Haddin after the World Cup and impressed with scores of 71 not out, 1, 42 and 50 not out in the recent series against England.

But it's a return to the Test side that he covets most and Chappell suggested today that the stocky left-hander could force his way into Australia's middle order purely as a batsman.

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"Australia's been searching for batsmen in recent times," Chappell said during Wide World of Sports commentary of the match at North Sydney Oval, which the Vics won by 21 runs.

"An indication of that is all the players over 30 (years old) who have debuted for Australia in Test cricket in recent times.

"I've thought a couple of times that Matthew Wade really should be in contention as a batsman only in the Australian Test side.

"I don't think his keeping is up to Test level, certainly not the last time I saw him in Test cricket, but his batting is another thing. He could easily force his way in."

Wade has shown previously that he's more than capable of fielding in the outfield if required, doing so in Australia A's winter series last year and taking a stunning catch at short leg in a match against South Africa A in Townsville.

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And his first-class record of 4,500 runs at an average of 40, plus the fighting hundreds he scored against the West Indies and Sri Lanka during his stint in the Test side in 2012-13, speak volumes of his ability with the blade.

Wade fell out of favour with Test selectors following Australia's forgettable tour of India in 2013, in which he found the going tough with the gloves on pitches tailor-made for India's spinners.

He was in contention to be Haddin's back-up 'keeper on the recent Test tour of the Caribbean and the UK following a 572-run Shield season with Victoria, in which he captained the side to their 29th title, but missed out to NSW gloveman Peter Nevill.

Wade said he was open to the option of playing in the Test side as a batsman only, but the 27-year-old still feels like he can force his way in as a 'keeper.

"I'd take it, definitely," he said. "I'd play in any role in the Australian cricket team.

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"I'm working hard on my keeping and I feel like my keeping has improved massively over the last two years. I feel like that's going well enough so hopefully I can keep pushing.

"But I'll just keep doing my thing and hopefully the rewards will come."

Wade was one of the standouts for Victoria with the bat on Sunday as their international quality batting line-up once again failed to fire in unison.

Opener Rob Quiney celebrated his recall with a polished innings of 79, but none of Aaron Finch, Cameron White, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Handscomb and Dan Christian were able to pass 30.

Wade said he will bat lower down in the order throughout the rest of the tournament, adding it was a role he'd have to grow accustomed to if he wanted to hold his place in Australia's ODI side.

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"If you're looking at the one-day international team at the moment, I have to play that role if I want to play for Australia," he said.

"There's Finch, Warner, Watson, Joe Burns and so many opening batters that the keeper's not just going to open the batting unless there's injuries.

"I feel like I can give something different that other people probably can't give and I feel really comfortable finishing the innings.

"I feel like I'm hitting them well. It would be nice to come in a little bit later and do that a little bit later on in the innings and just put the icing on the cake.

"Hopefully that will be my role in the last couple of games."

Victoria return to North Sydney Oval on Tuesday for their crucial clash against Tasmania, the winner of which will guarantee a place in Friday's elimination final.