Mathew Wade – The wild card entry which became first in list

The soon-to-34 Mathew Wade operates in silent, low-key zone in his career at the back of powerful performances.

Dev Tyagi Author

Updated - 16 September 2021 2:49 pm

Mathew is no ordinary name, it finds relevance in the holiest of all Christian texts: The Bible. And one of the most poignant quotes in the holy book has great meaning, if you look up the Bible Rank: 37 and see the quote furnished in front of Mathew 11:28. It goes as follows - “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Do you know what, there’s great relevance of the above in the context of Cricket Australia for there’s a Matthew in it too. Mathew Wade.

Though the only irony, if any, is that unlike his namesake, Apostle Saint Mathew, who was far more pronounced and revered, the wicket-keeping batsman is often under the radar. Rather, so often under the radar. Here’s a small example how. That he’s been actively involved in the sport that today needs him just as much as he needs it, since 2012, is often not given much thought. But who’s really at fault?

The prominent Test keeper, who became a handy middle-order batsman or those fans that regard flair and firepower, qualities than an Adam Gilchrist brought to the game, as being more important than anything else? And yet, battling speculations, hits and misses of his own form, indifference even, here’s Mathew Wade, having succeeded at playing a game for a decade where he never was - nor is today - a star.

What’s not worked for him, it could be said, is a lack of big scores. In the contemporary construct of the game, you can pass off as a specialist off-spinner who cannot put together a whack with the ball but the same rule doesn’t apply if you’re a keeper.

You ought to make runs. For you never know when and how, given the immensity of competition, not to forget the recurring contests, can defeat batsmen and burn a hole in any side’s batting line up. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Forget Gilchrist or Healy, two of the specialist keepers with whom comparisons for Wade may occur, even if not on the surface, even Ridley Jacobs or Matt Prior, not the most stunningly successful batsmen (undoubtedly stand out keepers), have contributed handsomely with the bat.

To his credit, even when Lara made headlines during his 400 not out, at the other end stood Ridley Jacobs with his 107, the Antiguan’s vital century, helping the team to mount 751 on the board.

Forget not that by the late nineties, the 1999 ICC ODI World Cup, to be precise, Jacobs had already become an opening batsman, ending his career with 1860 plus ODI runs, with nine fifties albeit no centuries ever. On the other hand, Matt Prior, who only ever get to play ten T20Is, ended up scoring nearly 4,100 Test runs along with 12,00 ODI runs, not to forget his 7 centuries and 31 half-centuries.

In comparison to both Jacobs, 212 international appearances, and Prior, 157 international appearances, Mathew Wade, who weighs light on the physical front, perhaps not possessing as much muscular power has already outscored the West Indian taking 29 fewer tests (1867 to Jacobs’ 1865) and is a touch at halfway stage when compared to the Englishman.

From 63 innings, Wade is already touching 1,700 Test runs and from 83 ODI innings, including 12 not outs in ODIs is nearing 1,900 runs in comparison to Prior’s 1282 runs from 62 games.

When you look around and see Mathew Wade’s contemporaries, then you’ll find Wade only behind Pant, the fireball hitter, de Kock, the mighty experienced Protea and Windies’ man-of-the-moment in white-ball cricket, Nicholas Pooran.

Given his decade-long experience and the dashing white-ball strike rate touching 82, Matthew Wade cannot be discounted as a small currency when you compare him to the recently banned Niroshan Dickwella, who’ll be back after several months, or Tom Latham or Tim Seifert, one of whom who’ll be keeping regularly in white-ball cricket for the Kiwis.

The soon-to-34 Mathew Wade operates in this silent, low-key zone in his career where at the back of recent powerful performances, it could be said, he’s finally making his presence felt. Think the recent Windies outing where apart from the fine ODI series win for his team, Australia were taken to pieces with Pollard’s men’s claiming the T20I series 4-1. But who stood out with the bat for an Australia minus Smith, Warner, and Labuschagne?

It was Mathew Wade, whose 87 runs from 5 innings came from a position he’s been as familiar about as was Mark Waugh toward bowling toe-crushing yorkers at 140 ks plus. Drafted in as an opener, Wade produced a lesser-known side of his during performances like- 33 of 14 in the opening T20I, 23 off 18, and 23 off 16.

Ending the series that would so have loved a Maxwell answering back for Australia when Gayle, Lewis, Pooran, Hetmyer all blasted big hits, it was Wade who ended the series at a strike rate of 161. No mean feat for a keeper who hadn’t previously opened in the Caribbean, one whom you wouldn’t consider the most natural hitter of 100-meter-long sixes whilst someone like “Dre-Russ,” would naturally command your attention.

Even at the Test level, at the back of fine performances in the last two years, Mathew Wade’s come into his own. In the 2019 Ashes series, one most remembered for being Archer’s first and Smith’s Bradman-esque numbers, it were performances like Wade and his 117 at The Oval that shone brightly but weren’t given due credit for the TRP-driving moments belonged to the Smith versus Archer battle.

That he fired 532 of his 1,600 plus Test runs in 2019 alone suggests the coming of age of a brave Australian who won’t perhaps give you solo-match-winning efforts as regularly as a KL Rahul, Kraigg Brathwaite or Dimuth Karunaratne, but will attest a mark of doubtless commitment to every ball if it comes to Australia’s survival in a contest.

His four Test centuries offer a whiff of hope that with absolute commitment, they could touch ten, for the Talismanian fired one each in his first two years in the game, wherein he averaged 35 taking into account 2012 and 2013 seasons. Though the turnaround in Wade’s Test fortunes too, didn’t come easy; and happened only at the back of bitter experiences.

What didn’t help Wade, who wasn’t in the Test line-up in 2016 and 2017 for there was Haddin was the loss of momentum that he’d have loved to build up on, having hit 624 of his 1613 Test runs in just two years: circa 2012 and 2013. In 2017, it didn’t help that he made whatever pitiable runs he did at an average of 7 and only to exacerbate his Test woes, it was no good for Wade when he sat out in 2018.

Someone who likes a good contest, in the 2019-2020 when Kane Williamson brought on Neil Wagner, who’s not your average bouncer anyways, to trouble the Aussies, the on man who put his body on the limit to counter the left-arm pacer was Wade. Not Smith. Not Finch.

It became quite an enigmatic sight to see the darting bouncers and the leftie thwarting the South Africa-born pace machine. Taking one hit after another, one too many body blows, think Pujara Down Under against Hazlewood and Cummins, Wade didn’t let the Kiwis smell any blood. It’s a mark of his courage and desire to battle it out.

That very quintessential Aussie trait that sees normal athletes elevate the contest into being a battle for survival. That he’s part of Australia’s WT20I squad reads as fantastic news since it’ll give the unit with returning heroes- Smith, Warner, Maxwell, more batting depth and firepower.

Moreover, that he’s an agile keeper, one with greater wicket-keeping experience than the rising Alex Carey should offer a cushion of comfort to a side that’s often too picky and loves to experiment.

Though one thing is sure, Mathew Wade would definitely vouch to do what his namesake in the Bible is renowned for having said, except by virtue of his craft, “I’ll offer you rest, and take care of your burdens O’ mighty Australians, who often seem dreary in the shortest format of the game.”

Mathew Wade in T20Is

T20I matches Highest score Runs scored Batting average Strike rate Fifties/ centuries
 

48

 

80

 

655

 

19.2

 

123.8

 

3 fifties

Alex Carey in T20Is

T20I matches Highest score Runs scored Batting avg Strike rate Fifties/centuries
 

38

 

 

37 not out

 

233

 

11

 

108

 

-

Mathew Wade In His Most Recent T20I Series prior to Bangladesh tour

 

Vs WI

 

Runs

 

Highest Score

 

4s hit

 

6s hit

 

Highest Strike Rate

 

5

 

87

 

33

 

9

 

5

 

235 during the knock of 33 off 14 deliveries

 

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