With Aaron Finch having already confirmed of David Warner partnering him as an opener during Australia’s T20 World Cup 2021 campaign, Matthew Wade aims to lock himself as the team’s middle-order mainstay. Wade opened for Australia in 11 of their 15 T20Is in 2021, in either or both veterans' absence.
Matthew Wade has opened in 16 of the 39 T20I innings he’s batted for Australia till date, with each of his three fifty-plus scores coming at the top. It’s a slot that has served him well at the Big Bash League too, where a major part of his 1,831 runs at 33.29 have come while opening for Hobart Hurricanes, Melbourne Renegades and Melbourne Stars through the years.
However, with the famed pair of David Warner and skipper Aaron Finchset to reunite at the top at the upcoming T20 World Cup, the wicketkeeper batsman aims to make a mark in the team’s middle or lower-middle order.
"[I'm] preparing more to nail down a middle-order to lower-order role at the moment," Wade said. "Obviously with Davey [Warner] coming back and Aaron [who] didn't play the last series, when I've opened the batting. It's when one of those guys has been missing [that I've opened]. 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. Just reading between the lines with the way that Mitch [Marsh] played last series, he'll probably slot in at the top of the order.
"I suppose my role at the top of the order maybe if we want to go a little bit harder and if they want a left-hander, maybe I'll go in then, but apart from that, I'll see myself settle in probably in the middle-to-lower order.
"I haven't had extensive conversations with Finchy and JL [coach Justin Langer] and Bails [selector George Bailey] about this yet but I've been around long enough to know where I probably sit within the team and that's why my training has been tailored towards getting used to that lower order.
"I've known for a long period of time that they want me to be versatile in the position that I can play and that's what I'll do."
Wade is one of the two glovemen picked in Australia’s 15-member squad, alongside Josh Inglis, who Bailey felt is a good player of spin. Wade believed that Australia won’t tinker with their starting XI in terms of him and Inglis, irrespective of the change in playing conditions.
"No I wouldn't have thought that we'll be swapped in and out from game to game," Wade said. "They'll make a decision at the start of the tournament and that player will play the tournament I would have thought. I played the last series and I'm confident that I'll play this series. We'll wait and see. But I don't think it will be a horses for courses type thing."
The 33-year-old underlined the value of running between the wickets, amidst boundary hitting in T20 cricket, especially for middle-order batsmen.
"We're not sure if we're reusing those [IPL] pitches or if they've got new pitches for us so the first week in our prep is going to be really judging what the conditions are going to be like and then obviously that dictates how we'll go about at the end," Wade said.
"There's plenty of ways to get it done at the back end. A lot of guys have power. I feel like I've got the power if I need to find boundaries but obviously, if conditions are going to be hard work, then it's going to be, you know, like a Mike Hussey type role. You've got to try and hit it over those box men [midwicket and cover] and run as hard as you can."