Wade has impressed everyone since making his debut just over a year ago
Australia wicketkeeper batsman Matthew Wade is convinced that he has done everything in his power to prove to the national selectors that he deserves to be in the Test squad for the upcoming series against South Africa.
There has been a lot of debate over the past couple of weeks about whether Wade or veteran keeper Brad Haddin will be chosen for the South Africa series, and as of right now, the national selectors are still pondering which one of the two would be the best option.
However, many cricket pundits believe Haddin will be the one to miss out since he is currently representing the Sydney Sixers at the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) in South Africa, meaning that he will not be able to play any more Sheffield Shield games before the start of the Test series.
In order to make their decision, the national selectors will also be weighing up Haddin’s experience against Wade’s youth and talent.
When Wade was given the opportunity to represent his country during the West Indies Test series in April after Haddin pulled out due to his daughter being diagnosed with cancer, he did not fail to impress, scoring a century in the third Test.
The national selectors know that this choice will be crucial since the number one Test team ranking is up for grabs in the series against the Proteas.
Speaking exclusively to ESPNcricinfo, Wade said: “I feel comfortable within the Australian setup now, I understand what they’re all about and what we’re trying to do, I feel really comfortable around the team but that doesn’t guarantee you selection. It’s all about performance from here on in. I’ve got two more Shield games before the Tests and if I can perform in them, hopefully I’ll get picked. I can only do what I can control. It was nice to come home early and play at the Gabba and get some runs there. I feel like I’m doing everything I can, I’m playing to the best of my ability. If that’s not good enough, that’s not good enough. I can only get told on the day whether I’m in or out.”
Wade has played in three Test matches, 25 ODIs and 15 Twenty20 International since making his international debut just over a year ago, and national selector John Inverarity has been impressed with what Wade has been able to accomplish over that period of time.
“It shows what a very good batsman Matthew Wade is, that innings, in the context of that game was the match-winner. They bowled very well in helpful conditions and that 89 was a very significant batting performance. If you go back to February, he played for Australia, then he played on the wickets in the West Indies, then he went to England and played there, then the UAE, then Sri Lanka. The amount of experience he’s got into his experience in seven months is fantastic,” Inverarity said.
However, Wade’s journey to the top has had some bad turns in the past, especially during the West Indies series, where he continued to be bamboozled by the spin bowling of Sunil Narine.
But, despite his troubles, he was able to score a century in the third Test which impressed national coach Mickey Arthur.
“We saw Wadey in the West Indies really battle with the turning ball, he hadn’t played in conditions like that before, he didn’t have a game-plan, he didn’t know how to score, he didn’t know where to score off Sunil Narine, but he worked it out and at the end of the series he got a really good hundred. We saw a little bit of that in England, a little bit of that in Sri Lanka, he worked immensely hard through the T20 on his batting, his first-class batting. He learns very quickly. He’s like a little kid, he comes and he fights it and he moans and whinges and gets frustrated, but he works hard, learns quick and hopefully he gets the rewards. He’s got a good edge to him,” Arthur said.
Inverarity and Arthur are not the only two major Australia figures that see a bright future ahead of Wade, as captain Michael Clarke branded him as “an amazing talent” who “is going to be a big player for Australian cricket over a long period of time”.
Wade noted that he would love to take the challenge of facing the South African pace attack of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel.
“There’s no tougher Test cricket than what that will be against South Africa, as cricketers all we want to do is test ourselves against the best players in the world. Their bowlers are the best in the world at times. It’s going to be hard work all summer against those guys and then a pretty good team in Sri Lanka coming over as well. It’s definitely a bigger jump up in intensity [to Test cricket] and you always get that one bowler that troubles you. The pressure is a little bit different. I think a home series is probably going to be even tougher, everyone is watching, but it would be fantastic to play in,” Wade said.