Wade rubbishes selectors’ loopy logic
Matthew Wade is still baffled by his selection snub for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka later this month.
Australia made drastic changes after the 2-1 series loss to India, dropping the Marsh brothers, Aaron Finch and Peter Handscomb, but the leading Sheffield Shield runscorer's name wasn't read out as one of the replacements.
Instead, Matthew Renshaw and Joe Burns get another chance, while 20-year-old batting prodigy Will Pucovski was picked to make a potential debut.
Wade has smashed 571 runs from six Shield matches at an average of 63.44 batting at number six for Tasmania, registering one century and five fifties.
Australia has had a fairly flimsy middle order in recent times but chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said Wade needed to be batting higher in the order to be considered for the Test side.
"It's fantastic to see him scoring a lot of runs. It wasn't long ago that he was in our Test squad, he struggled and we dropped him," Hohns said.
"He's playing as a wicketkeeper-batsman for Tasmania and it just so happens we have a wicketkeeper-batsman in our Test side who is the captain.
"If Matthew wants to be considered as a straight-out batsman, it would be nice to see him batting a little higher up for Tasmania."
But Wade came out swinging against that logic today, arguing the reasoning given by selectors "doesn't really make a lot of sense".
"He (Hohns) voiced his opinion about me batting in the top four, I raised that Shaun Marsh bats five for WA," Wade said on SEN radio.
"The Bellerive pitch is a tough batting wicket.
"I've been at stages like 4/50 a lot and I think it's a specialist position, five and six, you've got to bat with the tail, you probably need someone to set the pace a little bit down there with the tail and kind of build the total a different way than just a specialist batsman.
"I think you probably saw that with Peter Handscomb in the last Test. He batted six but he is batting way out of position, he has never really batted too much with the tail in that position.
"It's disappointing for me, it seems the criteria when Justin took over was weight of runs and hundreds. I feel like I'm ticking all those boxes and the reasons I'm not getting picked is I'm not batting in the top four."
Wade also gave up the gloves for Tim Paine when he was back playing for Tasmania in three of the Shield games this season so far.
A veteran of 22 Test matches, Wade averages 28.58 with two centuries and four fifties for Australia.
Similarly, Glenn Maxwell was also snubbed. Spending much of his time on one-day and T20 duty for Australia, the all-rounder only played two Shield matches before Christmas and didn't get a chance to press his claims for a Test berth.
Before this season of Sheffield Shield cricket, Wade admitted he didn't think he'd play Test cricket - "not as a wicketkeeper-batter, anyway".
The 31-year-old left-hander continued where he left off last year, where he smashed three centuries in the last five matches of the season, including a century in Tasmania's final loss to Queensland.
He told cricket.com.au in September he wanted to finish his career as a specialist batsman but it hasn't worked out that way this season, taking the gloves in three games in Paine's absence.
"I want to be as good a batter as I can be," he said in September.
"I'd like to be able to not keep and play as a batter in the last few years of my career. That's where I'd like to get to.
"Whether or not it happens I'll continue to play my role for the team and at the moment that's still wicketkeep and bat.
"But I'm working towards becoming the best player I can be."
With the selectors seemingly stuck on his dual role with the gloves as well as batting down the order, Wade told SEN he wouldn't be putting his personal ambition ahead of his team, despite Tasmania languishing in fifth position with two wins and three losses after six games.
"That's the reason that I'm getting, that puts me in a position that's quite tough because I don't want to be shuffling players around in the Tassie order just for me to be picked for Australia," he said.
"I feel like if I give up the gloves completely, go bat at four, it doesn't pan out as well, I feel like the next thing I'll be hearing is I can't be picked as the back up keeper because I'm not keeping.
"It's a tough situation to be in, I'm not really sure what we're going to do. I'm not going to do it just for my own good.
"We will work out what's best for Tasmania playing games and if that's me batting five, batting seven, I don't really care, I'll go wherever I have to go."
Wade also lamented the downplaying of Shield form by selectors, calling it "disappointing".
Hobart Hurricanes captain also Wade said he was "surprised" at D'Arcy Short's omission from the ODI squad.
Short was overlooked despite strong Big Bash League form where he has punished 259 runs at an average of 43.16 at the top of the order for the ladder-leading Hurricanes.
"It's a little bit surprising, but I think he's been pigeonholed a bit as an opening batter who can't play spin," Wade said.
"He started his career batting at seven for WA and played really nicely, bowls left-arm chinaman.
"He can bat anywhere in the order. I think he batted four or five in the last ODI in England and got a good score.
"If you're looking for an all-rounder who can clear the ropes at the end, I feel like he could bat six or seven and bowl a few overs a game.
"He's certainly got the ability to bat down the order."
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