Matthew Wade has quietly become one of the most versatile and adaptable cricketers in the Australian team. After showing his leadership in the recent Australian tour of Bangladesh, Wade is ready to play the team role during the upcoming T20 World Cup in the UAE.
Speaking from quarantine, Wade explained that he had maximised his time off after the tour of Bangladesh to recharge and refresh.
“I spent the first couple of weeks refreshing, to be honest, it was a challenging tour the last one we went on, not only conditions-wise, but mentally, with the quarantine, we face at the moment,” Wade said.
“It’s probably more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge throughout some of these tours.
“The first few weeks I just spent with my family, and friends and just relaxed a little it, and then the four or five weeks after that just gradually started to build it back up and two or three weeks ago, really honed down my preparation for the shield game and the one-dayer we were going to play against Queensland, which unfortunately got called off the day of the game.”
Throughout his career, Wade has batted across the Australian batting lineup, both as an opening batsman, and as a middle-order batsman, and recently, as a late-over finisher in limited overs matches.
While he has batted most at the top of the order, and with most success, Wade is prepared to bat lower down the order in the upcoming matches.
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“Nothing will surprise me, whether I’m told to open the batting, or whether I’m told to bat 8, I Don’t think there’s too much difference for me,” the wicketkeeper batter said.
“It’s just tailoring my game, it’s a mental shift to be honest, so that’s something I wanted to bring to the table my whole career, the versatility to bat anywhere.
“It doesn’t really bother me too much, wherever I get told to bat I’ll go out and do my absolute best, so there will be no excuses in terms of preparation or mentally being switched on to what position I get sent in.
“When it’s my go time it’s my go time, and I’ll go out there and do my best.”
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The 33-year-old expects that he will be batting lower in the order for much of the World Cup, based on the likely make up of the team.
“Obviously with David [Warner] coming back, and Aaron [Finch] didn’t play the last series when I’ve opened the batting it’s been when one of those guys have been missing,” he said.
“It’s no secret that they’re the best two opening batters that Australia have ever had, so those two are going to go up the top, and just reading between the lines with the way Mitch played the last series, he’ll probably slot in at the top of the order.
“I’ve been around long enough to know where I probably sit within the team, so that’s why my training has been tailored towards that lower order.
“I batted I think 5 or 6 in the last T20 in the West Indies, so I’ve known for a long time that they want me to be versatile in the position that I can play and that’s what I’ll do. “
Wade’s other role for the team will likely be as the wicketkeeper, a role that he has filled for much of his career.
He’s been preparing to return to the role as a limited overs wicketkeeper, a role he has not filled in first-class cricket for the Australian team since Tim Paine’s return to the side.
Wade’s keeping has developed over his career, and so has his preparation. When asked, Wade explained that he has developed habits for wicketkeeping preparation that he is sticking to ahead of the World Cup.
“Early on in my career I probably did too much, and mentally burned myself out before tours, and that’s something I’ve really learned over the last few years,” he explained.
“Being not a full-time keeper, that I need to get my work done, and get out of there, not just catching balls for the sake of it.
“So I’ve done a bit of stuff at home, I really crack in when I get here now, in the 12 days leading up to the first game, and I’m confident in what I’ve been doing.
“I think you can look at what I did in the West Indies and in Bangladesh and be confident that it’s going to be fine.”
Wade has thrived in the role recently, showing career-best wicketkeeping form in the recent tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh. Armed with that form, and the confidence that comes with it, Wade is ready to play that role for the team as well.
The Australians have never won the T20 World Cup in six attempts. Heading into this campaign, the versatility that Wade provides will be key to matching the different moments that T20 brings.
Wade is prepared to play whatever role that the team requires, and is excited to be heading into another World Cup.
Australia’s first match in the World Cup is on October 23 against South Africa. A warm up match against New Zealand is scheduled for October 19.
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