Wade will be under a lot of pressure to perform with both the bat and gloves
Australia wicketkeeper Matthew Wade may as well have been jumping in the air and thanking his lucky stars, while veteran Brad Haddin could be looking at the end of his international career after Australia’s squad for the first Test against South Africa at Brisbane on November 9 was announced.
The decision of whether to pick Wade or Haddin has dominated media headlines for the past couple of weeks, and most people must be glad that the suspense is finally over.
However, even though Haddin will be disappointed at not making the Test squad, Cricket Australia’s national selector John Inverarity noted that he still is a “player of significant interest”.
“Matthew came into the Australian ODI team in February and has since acquitted himself especially well, Matthew and Brad both went to the West Indies; Matthew as our preferred ODI and T20 player and Brad as our incumbent and preferred Test match keeper. As is widely known Brad returned to Australia early in the tour due to family circumstances and as a consequence Matthew was our Test keeper for the three Test matches. He kept and batted very well and made a match-defining brilliant century in the second innings of the third and final Test against West Indies. Since then he has played and gained valuable experience in England, the UAE and Sri Lanka. As a young player, getting better by the month, he is thoroughly deserving of his retention. While Matthew has been retained as the Test keeper, Brad remains a player of significant interest,” Inverarity said.
The Australian selectors decided to include Nathan Lyon as the only full-time spinner in the squad, while also choosing to go with Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc as their four pace bowlers.
Ed Cowan was given another chance to cement his spot as an opening batsman in the lineup after putting up mediocre performances against India and the West Indies over the past year.
Even though Pat Cummins was not chosen for the first Test, he will still be training with the team since Cricket Australia decided to initiate a rotation policy within their young fast bowlers, which means that Cummins is likely to play in either the second or third Test.
Furthermore, Cummins has not played a lot of first-class cricket as of late, and since Hilfenhaus and Siddle are fit again, the national selectors saw no point in rushing him into the series.
“We didn’t feel as though Pat Cummins was ready to play a Test match, we hope he’ll be ready to play a Sheffield Shield match soon, and then he’s likely to come on the radar for perhaps the third Test in Perth. That’s not speculating that he’ll be selected for that, but he’ll be ready to be in contention at that stage,” Inverarity said.
Inverarity also noted that pace bowler Ryan Harris would not be part of the series since he is still recovering from undergoing shoulder surgery two months ago.
“The last Test match that Australia played, the third Test in the West Indies last April, included Ryan Harris. Ryan is continuing his rehabilitation from injury and is unavailable. Peter Siddle and James Pattinson have recovered especially well from the injuries that rendered them unavailable for that last Test in West Indies. In fact, they have been enjoying an ideal preparation for the first Test in Brisbane having played in three Sheffield Shield games with another one to come later this week,” Inverarity added.
The Australian team are set to begin training three days before the start of the first Test, but with two Sheffield Shield games scheduled to be played during that same week, with one starting on Friday and New South Wales’ game against Queensland only starting on Saturday, it could be that some of the Test players may miss the final day of the Sheffield Shield matches to report for training.
Australia and New South Wales captain Michael Clarke said: “I’m definitely playing the Shield game and I’m not sure if I’m playing three days or four, I think the plan is it will be an individual case, if NSW are batting on day four it’d be silly for the batters to be pulled out to go into camp. We’re very lucky we’re playing in Brisbane so once we finish we can go into camp, but in saying that, if a bowler has bowled a lot in the first innings I think it would be silly to overload them leading into a Test match. Pat Howard’s on to that, the plan at the moment is to pull everybody out, but I know he’ll make sure he assesses once we get closer to day four.”