Wade vows to improve on his concentration behind the stumps
Australia wicketkeeper batsman Matthew Wade has revealed that he was bitterly “disappointed” with his constant blunders behind the stumps in the past two Test series, and made special reference to the final Test against South Africa at Perth, where the errors he made cost the national team the series and the chance of re-establishing themselves as the number one Test team.
During the second Test against the Proteas at Adelaide, Wade made a total mess of a stumping opportunity when South Africa captain Graeme Smith was on 46 and it proved to be a painful miss as Smith went on to score 122 before being dismissed.
Wade’s stumping nightmares presented itself once again during the first Test against Sri Lanka at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart, where he failed to cleanly collect the ball and stump Sri Lankan pace bowler Nuwan Kulasekara off the bowling of off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Even though the Kulasekara chance did not prove costly, Wade’s blunders have once again put him in the spotlight since cricket pundits and many former players believe that veteran Brad Haddin may have actually been a better choice for Australia during the two Test series.
While Wade acknowledges that the spotlight has been cast down upon him once again, he noted that his primary focus would be working on his concentration behind the stumps over the course of an entire Test match.
“I’m disappointed, I don’t need to read what’s printed or what’s said in the media for me to get disappointed or thinking about my glovework,” Wade said. “You can’t miss chances behind the stumps, it’s as simple as that. I’m thankful that this [Hobart] one didn’t cost us as much as what it probably did in Adelaide. When I wake up in the morning I’ve got to be looking forward, if I’m looking back all the time I’m not going to be improving at all and stuff like that is going to keep happening.
“It’s probably concentration, that’s probably what it comes down to. I’ve definitely done enough technically, I do enough training. That’s all I can go back to is finding a way to concentrate for a longer period of time and working on it at training. Every keeper misses chances, I know I’m going to miss chances, but I would like to have a little bit bigger gap in between missed chances than one Test match.”
Wade also admitted that playing Test cricket on home soil was much more pressurising compared to when he made his debut in the Caribbean since there were only a handful of Australian supporters in the crowd.
“You don’t know that you’re not concentrating,” Wade said. “Once the moment is gone that’s when you think ‘was I there 100%?’ That’s the question you keep asking yourself. There’s lots of pressure in Test match cricket. I knew that coming in. I suppose it’s more than what I thought it was going to be, as in … home Test matches there’s a little bit more pressure on the players.
“It’s little things. I get nervous a lot, so I tend to not eat enough during the day. Little things like that, nutrition … concentration is something you’ve got to be able to switch on and off. I’m learning every day that I play a Test match how to do that. As long as I can continue to learn and improve things can be right.”
Prior to the start of the final Test against South Africa, Wade had talked to former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist about how to handle the pressure of playing Tests at home and staying focused at all times behind the stumps.
Gilchrist was one of the best wicketkeeper batsman Australia ever had due to his ability to score runs at a quick rate and get the national team out of trouble if they were ever under serious pressure.
Wade stated that he looked up to Gilchrist and added that he would also start developing his batting in order to become a bigger asset to Australia in the future.