Cricket: Player In Focus: Matthew Wade

Matthew Wade v Melbourne Renegades, Dec 7, 2012 (photo mine)
Matthew Wade v Melbourne Renegades, Dec 7, 2012 (photo mine)

Matthew Wade has copped more proverbial bouncers at the throat recently than you could poke a stick at.  All through it he’s pressed on, despite being rested for the first part of the one-day series this summer against Sri Lanka.

Since moving to Victoria from the island state of Tasmania, Wade’s career has blossomed beautifully.  Culminating in test and ODI debuts last year for the national squad, Wade is continuing to build on the criticism he is receiving and his experience.

Wade has a ‘no frills’ kind of attitude; I have rarely seen anyone hit a ball harder than he does, and his concentration at the crease is fantastic.  As a wicketkeeper though, the biggest thing for Wade right now is concentration, and applying that to both of his roles.  The pressure that has been heaped on him to perform as a number 7 batsman and the first-choice keeper put Wade on the back foot during the recent South Africa and Sri Lanka test series.

There is no doubt Wade has the potential to be Australia’s first choice keeper/batsman day in, day out.  The skill sets are all there.  Now he needs to build on the advice he is being given and blend that into his game.  After copping some stinging criticism from former Australian keeper Ian Healy – and subsequently asking him to next time deliver it in person – Wade’s game has started to turn.

A thumping century at the SCG against Sri Lanka earlier this month began to drown out the critics, and the limited opportunities during the one-day series haven’t given Wade what he desires.  That being said, however, Wade is still building his game, and learning from the experienced people, like Healy (who he has since reconciled with).

Opportunities will come; there is also the scrutiny that players undergo in the media these days.  While it does factor into the overall routine a player needs to cope with, in reality the impact can be negligible.

Wade is going to be the future.  His batting technique looks solid, and while his keeping has a few niggles, it can just be a simple matter of perfecting them in training.  Persistence, some say, is key.  For Wade, this is undoubtedly true.

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