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Australia wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade will return home and miss the last two ODIs against New Zealand due to a back injury.
Wade was appointed as the stand-in captain ahead of the tour as regular skipper Steve Smith was nursing an ankle injury, but the 29-year-old didn’t feature in the first ODI, which New Zealand won by six runs, as he hurt his back while training.
Wade will now be treated in order to ensure he is fully fit ahead of the Test team’s trip to Dubai, where they will prepare for their four-Test tour of India, which begins on February 23.
As a result of this, Aaron Finch, who stood in as captain for Wade in the first ODI, will continue leading the national team for the remainder of the series.
“With Matthew not being fit for Thursday’s game in Napier it has been decided to send him home for an assessment and treatment in Melbourne, with a view to him being fit for the tour of India and the training camp in Dubai that precedes it,” John Orchard, Cricket Australia’s chief medical officer, said. “We are hopeful this injury will settle down relatively quickly and that he will be able to participate in that tour without any issues.”
Wade insisted that the injury is not serious and added that the decision for him to return back to Australia was merely a precautionary measure.
“It’s not a major injury but with the short turnaround between matches and the four-and-a-half-hour journey by bus to Hamilton for the next match, it’s been decided it’s best for me to go home and get some treatment in Melbourne,” he said. “With Dubai and then India I’d say I’d definitely be right for that. I’ll get that bit of treatment in Melbourne and we’re hopeful it’ll be fine by Sunday or Monday, and I can be on a flight to Dubai and start training pretty much as soon as I hit the ground there.”
The Hobart native also revealed that the lower back injury is one he has sustained before and pointed out that last time, his road to recovery had been a quick one.
“It’s happened to me once before, in Ireland a couple of years ago. I did it the day before the game then and was right to go the next day,” he said. “This one’s just taken a little bit more time and there’s no reason why that’s happened. Sometimes you recover really quickly and at other times it’s a little slower.
“It’s heartbreaking I couldn’t take the field as captain but it’s been a real honour to have been appointed captain and to be able to lead the group in the time I’ve been here in New Zealand. And after all, it’s all about the team, it’s not about me. Hopefully we can win the next two games and win the series.”