From Tasmania to UK, a timeline of two keepers
A remarkable chain of events, that begun over a decade ago when Matthew Wade left Tasmania, came full circle when he hugged Tim Paine in the middle of Edbgaston
5 August 2019, 02:48 PM AEST
More than two decades on from their first backyard cricket encounters in Lauderdale on the outskirts of Hobart, Matthew Wade and Tim Paine shared an embrace that held meaning beyond even the emotion of a maiden Ashes hundred.
The pair would have needed every ounce of the childhood naivety both were forced to shed at unusually early ages to have dreamt up the circumstances that would bring them together in front of a rowdy, hostile Edbgaston crowd on Sunday.
When Wade, three years Paine's junior, departed the Apple Isle as a teenager to forge a career outside the older boy's shadow, he set in motion a domino effect that would touch the careers of not only the two Tasmanians but also the entire Australian wicketkeeping landscape.
Along the way, each had moments where they thought all their sacrifice and pain may have all been for nothing.
2007 – Wade departs Tasmania
A chain of events that would have lasting impacts begun when a 19-year-old Wade departs Tasmania for the mainland. He had made his domestic debut in a 2007 one-dayer for the state as a specialist batsman but with Sean Clingeleffer entrenched behind the stumps and Paine his heir apparent, Wade’s move to Victoria reflects his determination to make it as a gloveman.
2008 – Wade establishes himself in Victoria
Wade's arrival in Melbourne adds another quality keeper to an already overflowing Victorian wicketkeeping cupboard. With Adam Crosthwaite and Tim Ludeman also in the picture, Peter Nevill moves to Sydney for greater opportunity. While Crosthwaite displaced Wade in the Bushrangers' side for the 2008-09 Shield final, the latter soon emerges as the clear No.1.
2009 - Paine makes his ODI debut
Paine entrenches himself in the Tasmanian side – first as a batter after hitting his maiden first-class ton (and, to date, his only first-class hundred) and then as a keeper. He's earmarked as Australia's keeper-in-waiting and makes his one-day international debut in 2009.
2010 - Paine makes his Test debut
Paine fills in for an injured Brad Haddin in Tests against Pakistan and then India, with a gritty 92 in Mohali prompting Steve Waugh to suggest he could be a future Test captain. But a month after his impressive knock, the first of a crippling succession of finger injuries would derail Paine's blossoming international career.
2012 - Wade makes Test debut
Haddin had established himself as a worthy successor to the legendary Adam Gilchrist, but cricket took a backseat when his daughter was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. He immediately flew home from Australia's tour of the West Indies and with Wade having overtaken Paine in the national pecking order, the left-hander hits a maiden century in his third Test.
2013 – Wade displaced as Haddin returns
Haddin is reinstalled for the 2013 Ashes series, ascending to the vice-captaincy under Darren Lehmann's new regime as Australia regains the Ashes on home turf in the summer of '13-14. Haddin soon re-establishes himself as a key fixture in the Test side, which wins the ensuing tour of South Africa to ascend to No.1 in the world.
2015 – Wade fades as Nevill wins favour
Australia's keeping stocks are seemingly awash with talent. While Paine is struggling to reignite his career at domestic level, Wade and Nevill each have career-best Sheffield Shield seasons, Ludeman and Chris Hartley are regarded as top-notch pure keepers while Sam Whiteman emerges as a future prospect. Nevill narrowly edges out Wade to be Haddin’s back-up on the 2015 Ashes tour and when Haddin receives more bad news about his daughter's health, Nevill makes his debut at Lord’s and takes the Test spot permanently.
2016 - Wade takes back Test spot, moves home
While Nevill impresses with his glovework, his lack of output with the bat counts against him after Australia lose their fifth Test in a row and squander a home Test series to South Africa. Wade returns as Australia salvages their summer by defeating Pakistan and confirms plans to move back to Hobart at the end of the season.
2016-17 - Paine contemplates the end
Paine is sidelined for much of the '16-17 summer as Jake Doran is preferred as Tasmania's Shield keeper. On the back of an impressive few seasons in the Big Bash however, Paine is handed the gloves for a second-string Australia T20 side to play Sri Lanka and impresses selectors behind the stumps. But with an uncertain hold on the Tigers' Sheffield Shield keeping spot and the impending return of Wade, Paine admits he’s weighing up his options for the following season.
2017 – Paine sensationally returns
While Wade's improvement with the gloves are noted, he fails to lock down his spot on tours of India and Bangladesh. Selectors toy with the idea of installing part-time keeper Peter Handscomb in Chittagong and by the start of the '17-18 domestic summer, all eyes are on who will take the Ashes keeping spot. Wade and Nevill are the presumed frontrunners. Paine, now behind Test incumbent Wade in Tasmania's Shield side, hits half-centuries against England and then for the Tigers playing as a specialist batsman. Selectors then drop a bombshell when they announce Paine has been recalled ahead of both Wade and Nevill.
2018 – Paine becomes Test captain
It's a seamless return to the top flight for Paine, who impresses with both bat and gloves as Australia retain the urn with an emphatic 4-0 triumph over England. His quiet leadership also doesn't go unnoticed. So, when one of the game's biggest scandals claims the jobs of Steve Smith and David Warner in Cape Town, Paine is saddled with the captaincy in an immensely challenging period for Australian cricket.
2019 – Wade returns – as a batter
Like Paine had done not long earlier, Wade acknowledges he's likely on the international cricket scrapheap. But a stunning '18-19 domestic season across all formats with the bat puts him firmly back on the radar for the Ashes. After more runs flow on a preliminary Australia A tour, Wade wins selection in the squad to tour England and, after grabbing the final batting spot for the series opener, strokes a second-innings ton. And who else but Paine should be there at the other end to celebrate?
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.
Tour match: Australians v Worcestershire, August 7-9
Second Test: August 14-18,Lord's
Third Test: August 22-26, Headingley
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval