The Roar
The Roar


Wade should be next in line to keep for Australia

Matthew Wade has been named to tour India. Is he good enough? (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Roar Pro
14th December, 2014

The fact that Brad Haddin, in horrid form with the bat, carrying a shoulder injury and 37 years old, is still a walk up start as our national wicketkeeper means he’s either an exceptional leader or Australia’s domestic alternatives are not performing well enough.

Haddin’s comeback since returning to the national team has been beyond all expectation and he still has time left at the top. He is surely nearing the end of an excellent career though and there is a lot of speculation as to who will replace him.

Matthew Wade is often mentioned, alongside Chris Hartley, Peter Nevill, Sam Whiteman and Tim Paine.

Hartley is an excellent glovesman and is a much better batsman than is often mentioned – he averages more than 30 in Shield cricket. Peter Nevill is the most in-form option and has been dominating for New South Wales of late. Sam Whiteman, at 22, is the long-term solution.

Tim Paine is still an excellent cricketer but has not risen to the level he looked like he would before a series of injuries. He was dropped by Tasmania last week due to his lack of runs but will be back.

Hartley and Nevill are in strong positions to be the next Australian Test keeper. If it were up to me, though, Wade would get first opportunity when Haddin calls time.

Wade, unlike many modern keepers, was dropped from the Test team because he made too many mistakes with his glove-work. Normally, wicketkeepers are kept out of Test cricket because their batting is not up to scratch, but Wade’s average of 35 is more than handy, especially considering he faced South Africa and travelled to the West Indies and India in his 12 matches.

Too many times he missed a stumping or dropped a catch though. Nathan Lyon, in particular, seemed to suffer. The selectors had to make a call and hindsight says Haddin has not let them down.


Many fans and commentators at the time were happy to say Wade was a long way off the level required. They were probably right, and probably a bit over-the-top. Eighteen months since his axing and everyone seems to have the same opinion of Wade – good batsman, his keeping is not up to it.

But is that still the case?

A well worn path for Australian players is to get a taste of Test cricket, get exposed, get written-off, return to state cricket, perform, and then return to the top, usually as a much better player. To name a few: Matthew Hayden, Damien Martyn, Darren Lehmann, Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson, Steve Waugh and Steve Smith. You get the point.

Many of the above were unlucky to be dropped but many were supposedly never to play again. Johnson and Smith, in particular, appeared a long way off the feats they have recently achieved when they were last dropped. Brad Haddin himself, can be added to that list.

Better judges than me will be able to tell whether Wade has made the necessary improvements to become the next player to bounce back into Test cricket. I suspect he will never be the best keeper but he will be much better than what he showed in his first crack at Test cricket. He is a state captain as well, and Australia can never have too many good leaders in their team.

I hope Haddin continues to play at the highest level for as long as he can. When he does step aside, though, the selectors should make sure they look long and hard at Matthew Wade as his replacement.