ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021
Injured Wade reveals he almost missed World Cup final
Wicketkeeper played against New Zealand with a grade two side strain, while skipper Aaron Finch had to manage a knee injury during the tournament
18 November 2021, 12:06 PM AEST
World Cup hero Matthew Wade has revealed he pushed through the pain of a grade two side strain in the final against New Zealand and was in so much discomfort that he was unable to hit balls with any force in the pre-game warm-up.
And skipper Aaron Finch's knee injury was so sore during the tournament that he placed himself at first slip to limit his movement and could miss the opening stages of the upcoming Big Bash League.
Wade injured his side at training the day before the decider against the Kiwis in Dubai and was reluctantly sent for scans, which revealed a grade two strain.
Medical staff opted not to tell the gritty left-hander the diagnoses so it would not cloud his judgement about whether he should play the following day.
But the 33-year-old conceded he feared he would be ruled out, which would have sensationally meant an international debut for Josh Inglis in a World Cup final.
"I was a little bit worried the night before the game, for sure," said Wade, who also revealed he plans to retire from international cricket after next year’s World Cup in Australia.
"If I had have woken up and I couldn't swing the bat, I wouldn't have played.
"I was worried that if we'd batted first and I had to go as hard as I could and I tore it then, I wouldn't be able to keep and that would hurt the team a lot.
"But in my mind, they would have had to strap me to the bed. I was always going to go out there and play. But I wouldn't have played if there was a chance it was going to hurt the team.
"I went and hit some balls before the game and bluffed my way through that. Then they made me hit a few more, but I got through it and it felt pretty fine."
Teammate Glenn Maxwell added Wade's attempt to hide the injury in the pre-game warm-up wasn't successful.
"The way he was gingerly hitting underarms (in the warm-ups) … I said 'what's going on here? Hit the ball harder!'," Maxwell said. "And he said, 'I've got a side strain'. I didn't even know."
The laws of cricket were changed in 2017 to allow substitute fielders to keep wickets, meaning Inglis could have taken the gloves if Wade had been forced from the field during the match.
Finch said there was a genuine concern that Wade, the hero of their semi-final win over Pakistan, would be forced to miss the game.
"There was always a little bit of a fear," he said.
"The doctor forced him into a scan. He didn't want to know the result, but I knew … and being a grade two tear in his side, it was going to be tough.
"But if anyone was going to play, it would have been him. You would have had to cut his leg off.
"I thought he kept brilliantly (in the final). Towards the backend, I saw him in a bit of pain with a couple of dives and throws. But he was never missing that."
Finch underwent knee surgery in August and while he was confident that he was never going to miss the tournament, he conceded today he had pushed his body to the limit.
"I pushed the rehab really hard and probably paid the price for it a little bit throughout the tournament," he said. "I may need a bit more time off at the moment to get that right.
"I was never in doubt to miss a game (but) I was in doubt to field anywhere other than first slip. It looked like there was going to be a first slip for 20 overs at one point!
"The boys kept spraying me after the game … (saying) we were here for the IPL, we never saw a catch at slip, we don't need one. And I said 'yes we do!'."
Finch flagged he could miss the start of the KFC BBL, which begins on December 5, but Wade is confident he'll be fit for Hobart's tournament opener.
Having lost his Test spot this week and with Alex Carey entrenched as Australia's wicketkeeper in one-day cricket, Wade has also set his sights on their T20 World Cup title defence on home soil next year as his international swansong.
"That'll be my next motivation – hopefully get to that World Cup, defend the title and then I can sail off into the sunset," he said.
"I certainly won't be playing (international cricket) beyond that point. That would be my goal from here."
Wade, who is contracted with Tasmania and the Hurricanes for the next few years, plans to continue playing domestic cricket beyond next year's World Cup.
2021 Men's T20 World Cup
Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins (vc), Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa. Travelling reserves: Dan Christian, Nathan Ellis, Daniel Sams