Rixon believes Wade’s performance with the bat or gloves may suffer if he does not get adequate rest
There have been mounting concerns within the Australian camp about wicketkeeper batsman Matthew Wade’s ability to open the batting after having stood behind the stumps for 50 overs.
Acting coach Steve Rixon has suggested that Wade should come in to bat lower down the order so that he can sufficiently recover from keeping in the stifling heat.
Australia are currently in the United Arab Emirates to play a limited overs series against Pakistan, and Rixon believes that a batsman like Michael Hussey may be the perfect candidate to open the batting, which is what he does when playing for the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
During the one-off ODI Australia played against Afghanistan, Wade opened the batting and made 75 runs before taking three catches behind the stumps later on.
Wade was absolutely drained by the end of the match, and there are growing concerns that he is not getting enough rest between the time he keeps and opens the batting.
“Matthew Wade is probably the biggest concern, he has a dual role to play. If he has to field first, and then go out and do the batting, he’s going to look a lot more tired doing it that way than the way he did it last night. He’s a guy we will have to manage well and his position in the batting may have a bearing on that,” Rixon said.
Rixon stated that he would have no problem with Hussey opening the batting, but also noted that captain Michael Clarke and George Bailey were two other candidates he had in mind as well.
“Probably a really positive option would be Mike Hussey, who has opened with the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League,” Rixon said.
The acting coach further mentioned that Australia should stick to their pace bowlers, just like in the one-off match against Afghanistan and in the first ODI against Pakistan.
“We’ve learnt a lot by actually playing a lot of our guys over the years in the Indian Premier League and other subcontinent competitions where we’ve actually seen how quicks bowling into the wicket with pace can be hard work, to me, if that’s our trump card, by all means we’ll be using it accordingly. You don’t just play spinners for the sake of it. You’ve got to be getting people who are going to play a role in your side. If that means three or four quicks, or three quicks and say [absent allrounder] Shane Watson to come into your bowling attack, by all means, that will be our attack. It’s something we took on board and we’ll probably be using it as one of our strengths,” Rixon added.
However, Clarke was quick to state the Australian batsmen had to be able to take advantage of the Pakistani spin bowlers in order to ensure that the match does not slip from their hands.
But, Clarke also mentioned that spin was going to be a decisive factor throughout the series.
“Whoever bowls spin the best and whoever plays spin the best will win the series, whether it is attacking or defending, the way our spinners bowl is going to be crucial to us having success. It doesn’t mean they take all the wickets, as we’ve seen. The Australian way is, for a long time, fast bowlers have had success all around the world. I see this series being no different, but I do believe our spinners are going to play a huge part in us taking 10 wickets in every game,” Clarke said.
On a further note, Clarke noted that the bowlers should pay attention to the heat and humidity, and take precautions in the form of sweatbands and towels.
“Probably the most important thing for us is when bowling second, realise how much you’re sweating, so we’ll combat that with guys wearing sweatbands, make sure there’s towels, to be able to hang onto the ball,” Clarke added.