For so long we’ve been calling for it, I’ve written plenty of pieces suggesting it had to happen, and now Matthew Wade’s time as the wicketkeeper of the Australian team has finally come to an end.
While it could be considered a little churlish and uncouth to kick a man while he’s down, having been dumped from the One Day International side in the midst of being hammered on foreign soil in India, it’s fair to say this decision has been long overdue and the first tentative steps toward the future are the most enjoyable.
Time to move forward
Without even speculating what the future holds, or who will don the gloves beyond Peter Handscomb’s brief stint in India, the move is a huge stride in the right direction and forces the Australian selectors to put some serious thought and effort into picking the right keeper. Whether the right decision is a return to former gloveman Peter Nevill, the displaced Victorian who has carved out a fine niche in Sydney with the New South Wales side, or a young, fresh face ready to be moulded and developed into the long-term option will make for interesting conversation if nothing else.
The axe finally fell on Wade’s run in the side ahead of the third loss in Indore, which left the Aussie’s 3-0 down in a best of five match series, after failing to post a score in double-figures in his last 8 matches, 3 Tests and 5 One Day Internationals.
Speaking on Indian television giant Star Sports, former Australian captain Michael Clarke was circumspect but honest in his assessment.
“That’s a big decision from the Australian selectors,” he said of the decision. “because now I think it’s very hard for Matthew Wade to fight his way into that Test team as well.
“He’s going to have to go back and play first-class cricket,” Clarke said. “I can’t see them selecting him for the next two ODIs.”
The road ahead for Wade & Australia
Wade will return home to link up with Tasmania on the Australian domestic scene after breaking off ties with the Victorian Bushrangers and will have just three Sheffield Shield matches to state his case for a return to the Australian setup ahead of a summer Ashes series against England on home soil.
Part-time keeper Peter Handscomb took over for Wade in India and while his place in the side looks assured, the Victorian has stated he wouldn’t be keen on taking the gloves full-time in the Test arena. Handscomb also spilt a catch in Indore and, like many of his colleagues, failed with the bat.
Handscomb will keep the gloves for the two dead rubber games in Bengaluru and Nagpur, but beyond that, decisions will have to be made by the men in charge.
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