Nothing to lose for Maddinson and Wade

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

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    I know I wasn’t alone this week in expressing surprise at the selection of NSW bat Nic Maddinson and Victorian ‘keeper Matthew Wade for the Third Test against South Africa starting today in Adelaide.

    I know this because Twitter blew up when the announcement was made on Sunday afternoon, and there have been countless articles written about it since.

    And text messages. When I’m getting text messages about something, then people are really annoyed.

    Like most of you, my reaction to the changes was pretty simple.

    – Matt Renshaw: haven’t seen him, but I like what I read;

    – Peter Handscomb: happy days, I’ve been raving about him for years;

    – Chadd Sayers: yeah, fair enough, he’s been bowling well for a while;

    – Jackson Bird: good, probably should’ve been in the squad from the start;

    – Matthew Wade: whoa, let’s not go overboard here, and

    – Nic Maddison: oh, good grief.

    There are numerous reasons why I’m not a huge rap on either Wade or Maddinson, and there are numerous reasons why I don’t think either should have been picked.

    But they have been picked, and there’s no point debating their selection any further. They’re both in the side now, they’ll both play in Adelaide, and given the upheaval the selectors have now brought upon the team, they will be in the Test team now for the rest of the summer. At least.

    Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne (R) attempts to catch Australia's batsman Matthew Wade (L)

    Of course, the last thing either player should be doing is trying to please the masses. The only opinions that count are those of Steven Smith and the selectors.

    But both players will be aware of the conjecture; it’s almost impossible to escape the commentariat in this day and age, especially when there has been as much written and said about their selections as there has been.

    And that means that both players can play with complete freedom. With expectation around these players set where it is, almost any success they have in this Test will be a welcome bonus. It might be one of those rare moments in professional sport where they can’t lose either way.

    For Wade, I don’t really care if he’s prepared to throw out some lip to the South Africans; what’s more important is that he can show the kind of pluck and guile and fighting qualities with the bat that he’s been selected for.

    It’s certainly true – in part – that Peter Nevill lost his place because of the batting failings of those immediately around him in the batting order, but Wade can’t be walking to the crease with any other attitude than scoring runs himself.

    He’s certainly capable of this. He’s made Test centuries, and one of them was batting at six. He’s batted himself at five for Victoria this season, and that has brought him a degree of success in both the one-day and Shield competitions. He also showed some ability to bat with the tail during the one-day series in South Africa.

    A total of 11 Shield catches and a stumping in three matches this season suggests there is some merit to his self-assessment of being a vastly improved wicketkeeper than when he last wore the baggy green, too. There may not be a more anticipated and eagle-eyed study of a single moment of ‘keeping than when the first ball hits his gloves.

    For Maddinson, he gets the opportunity to repay the significant faith of the national selectors, an opportunity that feels like it’s been mentioned prospectively in recent years way more and way sooner than perhaps it should have been. The talent is undeniable, but the application thereof remains in question.

    But like Wade one spot below him, Maddinson is definitely capable of making the no.6 place in the order his.

    New South Wales opener Nic Maddinson bats on day one of the Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and New South Wales at Allan Border Field in Brisbane, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.

    He came into First Class cricket as a young opener, a stodgy young opener at that, but has reinvented himself in recent years as a middle order strokemaker of enormous potential. Mark Waugh, Darren Lehmann, and maybe even Greg Chappell around the selection table will have seen parts of their own game in Maddinson, and if the young batsman gets even in the ballpark of their quality, then his selection will have been a huge success.

    Hopefully he’s still got a bit of nervous young opener’s stodge in him still, because by his own admission, there will be times in Adelaide where he’ll have to work bloody hard for his runs. But if he can come out the other side unscathed, then his natural game can certainly – and rapidly – turn a game.

    We have to go back to the not-so-glory days when relatively unknown kids like Jones, and Ritchie, and Waugh were thrown into the deep-end of Test cricket to remember such a sweeping change of selection direction.

    We know more about young players these days, but many of those same puzzled questions of the mid-1980s equally apply today. ‘Are we really sure this is the way we want to go?’

    And we’re not sure, if we’re honest. But with Wade and Maddinson now in the Test side, I’m looking forward to being wrong about both of them.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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    The Crowd Says (31)

    • November 24th 2016 @ 5:46am
      Brasstacks said | November 24th 2016 @ 5:46am | ! Report

      If you have to pick a hit and miss player, why not Maxwell? He has international experience albeit in short form cricket, is brilliant in the field and can turn his arm over. It seems the number one criteria to be an Aussie selector these days is not to have common sense.

      • November 24th 2016 @ 8:29am
        Rob JM said | November 24th 2016 @ 8:29am | ! Report

        It would be the worst possible moment to pick Maxi because he is out of form. In principle though he would be the perfect no 6/7

        • November 24th 2016 @ 2:08pm
          Don Freo said | November 24th 2016 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

          2 innings ago he stuck a wonderful 81. How is he out of form?

      • November 24th 2016 @ 11:06am
        matth said | November 24th 2016 @ 11:06am | ! Report

        Maybe purely because Maddinson spins it the other way to Lyon? I hope that wasn’t the reason, but it may have played a part.

        • November 24th 2016 @ 12:37pm
          Mike Dugg said | November 24th 2016 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

          Maddinson hardly ever bowls. He’s not a part time bowler but a bit part bowler at best

        • Columnist

          November 24th 2016 @ 1:42pm
          Brett McKay said | November 24th 2016 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

          I’d be incredibly surprised if Maddinson’s bowling was a factor at all – he’s bowled less than one over per FC game played!

    • Roar Guru

      November 24th 2016 @ 6:41am
      Tim Holt said | November 24th 2016 @ 6:41am | ! Report

      It is was it is and we move on

      Wade is strange for he has hardly excelled and stood out with the bat and has the same question marks over his glovework. If they were picking solely for batting then why not Whiteman from WA. It seems they went for Wade in response to the lack of ‘mongrel’ in the team with too many not having any semblance of fight. The irony of this is they seemed to have judged a player being ”mouthy’ as evidence of being capable with fight in tough times.

      Maddinson, great talent a few years ago that has somewhat prostituted it by trying to excel in the T20 circus. His selection is a huge slap in the face of Kurt Patterson who looks Australia’s best young batsman and most complete. Also having figures supporting his case in this season where he is second only to Handscombe.

      With the selections setting up a traditional top 6, does it mean the all rounder obsession is over? ( for they easily could have went for Maxwell )

      • November 24th 2016 @ 9:40am
        Lancey5times said | November 24th 2016 @ 9:40am | ! Report

        I think they just felt Nevill had to go back to the Shield and score some runs. Having a completely debutant 5/6/7 would have been too much so Wade got the nod. Had Voges not been jettisoned maybe Whiteman would have been selected.

      • November 24th 2016 @ 11:08am
        matth said | November 24th 2016 @ 11:08am | ! Report

        The all rounder obsession may have been replaced by the batsman who can bowl a bit. Maddinson is a reasonably useful part time left arm orthodox.

        • Roar Guru

          November 24th 2016 @ 1:34pm
          Tim Holt said | November 24th 2016 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

          I will laugh if that is the case folr I have called for a while for a traditional top 6 and the likes of Smith/Voges/Warner roll their arms over more

          • November 24th 2016 @ 1:59pm
            Charlie Turner said | November 24th 2016 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

            Smith has always puzzled me. He was originally selected in the test side as a leg spin bowler and now rarely bowls at all. Is this because he was never any good or bowling fatigues or distracts his batting? In my opinion he is a good leggie and just needs to reign in the gimme he bowls every over.

        • Columnist

          November 24th 2016 @ 1:44pm
          Brett McKay said | November 24th 2016 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

          Matt, Maddinson has SIX first class wickets, and ONE List A wicket. I think describing his owling as ‘part time’ is very generous!

          Tim (and Lancey), I reckon you’re right about Wade being preferred over a young keeper like Whiteman, too..

    • November 24th 2016 @ 7:09am
      jameswm said | November 24th 2016 @ 7:09am | ! Report

      I agree on Maddinson Brett, but not on Wade.

      Normally, I’d say if I thought someone shouldn’t have been picked, I’d be happy for them to prove me wrong. The thing with Wade is I think over time his keeping will not be up to test standard, and we’re just wasting time putting him in. If he scores a ton it will keep him there for a while.

      I’ve got nothing against the guy, but unless his keeping really has imrpoved to the necessary standard, I think he needs to be replaced soon.

      • November 24th 2016 @ 8:34am
        Rob JM said | November 24th 2016 @ 8:34am | ! Report

        If Handscomb is able to succeed as a batsman at test level then there is the real possibility that he may take the gloves if wade fails. Of course if Whiteman can finally regain form and consistency after his broken finger he will be a shoe in by the end of the season.

      • Columnist

        November 24th 2016 @ 1:46pm
        Brett McKay said | November 24th 2016 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

        I guess there’s really only one way to find out where his ‘keeping is, James. We’ll see soon enough whether the supposed improvements are imagined or actual soon enough.

        And Rob, I’m sure Whiteman made a Shield hundred just last weekend, coming in with WA at 4 or 5 for less than 100..

        • November 24th 2016 @ 1:56pm
          jameswm said | November 24th 2016 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

          And a 50 in the other innings as well, coming in for a similar score. Saved them in both innings.

      • November 24th 2016 @ 6:23pm
        John Erichsen said | November 24th 2016 @ 6:23pm | ! Report

        Agree about Wade. To me, it would make more sense, if Nevill had to go, to use the remaining four tests at home to settle a younger keeper like Whiteman into the test side. Then its off to India, where the quality of the gloveman is truly tested, just as Wade found out during the last tour when he was woeful.

    • November 24th 2016 @ 8:14am
      Basil said | November 24th 2016 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      The only “logical” reason I thought they they might have gone with Maddinson (as he does not have form or temperament behind him) is that he might chip in with a few overs of spin if needed to support an all pace attack. Now that that is not the case, I do not see why the more deserving Patterson did not get the gig. Nic should be treated any differently to Ferguson if he fails.

      • November 24th 2016 @ 8:38am
        Rob JM said | November 24th 2016 @ 8:38am | ! Report

        They also need a batsman to cut to let S Marsh back into the side. Renshaw and Maddinson are both project player selection that you won’t be upset if you drop next match. Handscomb has earned an extended chance and has bonus keeping abilities.

      • Columnist

        November 24th 2016 @ 1:48pm
        Brett McKay said | November 24th 2016 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

        Basil, I too though Patterson might get the nod, but as I’ve said above, I’d be stunned if Maddinson’s bowling was a consideration..

    • November 24th 2016 @ 12:13pm
      Don Piper said | November 24th 2016 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

      Maddo is a brilliant player of spin so he is earmarked for India and the horrors that lie within

      that is why he got picked

      • Columnist

        November 24th 2016 @ 1:50pm
        Brett McKay said | November 24th 2016 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

        Rriiiighttt..

        So we’re picking players six months ahead of when they’re actually required now? I’d have my doubts that’s the reasoning, Don..

        • November 24th 2016 @ 1:57pm
          jameswm said | November 24th 2016 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

          I did wonder if Patterson getting out to spin in both innings (Holland from memory) against Vic showed a possible frailty against spin, and that was considered.

          • Columnist

            November 24th 2016 @ 2:02pm
            Brett McKay said | November 24th 2016 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

            It could be James, but then Maddinson, by his own admission, has struggled against the moving pink ball in Adelaide!

    • Roar Guru

      November 24th 2016 @ 1:13pm
      Chris Kettlewell said | November 24th 2016 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

      I don’t know that I agree on this. I think they both have lots to lose. If Renshaw and Handscombe have early struggles people are likely to say “they are young, we need to give them time to find their way in test cricket”. If Wade and Maddenson have early struggles people are likely to say “told you they should never have been picked”.

      If anything, because people have more reservations about them, these two really need to stand up and prove people wrong from the very start in a way the Renshaw and Handscombe probably don’t need to as much.

      • Columnist

        November 24th 2016 @ 2:02pm
        Brett McKay said | November 24th 2016 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

        Yeah, I know where you’re coming from Chris, and we might even be arriving at the same point from different directions.
        My thinking is that expectations of Wade and Maddinson are so low that even moderate success will be seen as a bonus..

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