Matthew Wade believes the reason given by the Australia’s national selection panel for his exclusion from the Test series against Sri Lanka “doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
The Tasmania captain and wicketkeeper has been very vocal in the media since being omitted from Australia’s Test squad for the two-match series against Sri Lanka despite being the leading run-scorer in Sheffield Shield cricket this season with 571 runs at 63.44 with one century and five fifties.
Wade said he couldn’t understand the logic behind selectors claiming his omission was because he was batting too low in the order for Tasmania. “It’s disappointing for me,” Wade told SEN Radio on Monday.
“It seems the criteria when Justin (Langer) took over was weight of runs, 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. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense.”
Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns was quizzed about Wade’s non-selection as a specialist batsman when the team was announced last week. Hohns suggested, in order to be picked, Wade needed to make runs higher up the order than No.6, where Wade has batted in all 12 Shield innings this season.
“It’s great to see Matthew scoring some runs,” Hohns said. “But if Matthew wants to be considered as a straight-out batsman, it would be nice to see him batting up a little higher for Tasmania and that conversation has been had.”
Tasmania coach Adam Griffith claimed he was only advised about Wade’s batting position being a barrier to selection after the Sri Lanka squad was picked. “I’ve never been told by Cricket Australia that he has to bat in the top four,” Griffith told The Mercury last week.
“I had a conversation with (coach) Justin (Langer) a couple of days ago where he did say one of the reasons we haven’t picked him is because he bats at No.6,” Griffith said. “But before that (during the Shield season) there wasn’t a directive from CA that he has to bat in the top four otherwise we can’t pick him.”
Wade argued that the selectors had previously picked batsmen for different spots in the Test line-up irrespective of where they batted in Shield cricket.
“He (Hohns) voiced his opinion about me batting in the top four, I obviously raised that Shaun Marsh bats five for Western Australia,” Wade said. “The Bellerive pitch is a tough batting wicket.
“I’ve been at stages like 4 for 50 a lot and I think it’s a specialist position No.5 and No.6. 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 No.6 but he is batting way out of position. He has never really batted too much with the tail in that position. So, yeah, I raised all those points.”
Shaun Marsh has only batted as low as No.5 once in his last 27 Sheffield Shield innings dating back to the start of 2015-16 season. He’s opened or batted No.3 on 21 occasions, and batted at No.4 five times including twice this season,and has averaged 55.61 across those 27 innings with three centuries.
Marsh did bat at No.5 in 23 Shield innings between 2012 and 2015. He did play six Test matches in that period batting at No.4 in six innings, at No.5 nine times and opening twice.
Peter Handscomb has only batted as low as No.6 or No.7 on 15 occasions in 97 Shield innings for Victoria and has not done it since November 2014. He has only batted outside the top four twice in his last 41 innings for Victoria. He had only batted at No.6 twice in 28 Test innings prior to the Sydney Test against India, having batted exclusively at No.4 or No.5.
Wade did not mention Aaron Finch. Finch was selected to open the batting for all 10 of his Test innings in late 2018 despite not batting higher than No.4 in 44 first-class innings between November 2015 and September 2018.
Since moving to Tasmania for the start of the 2017-18 season Wade has batted at No.5 on 12 occasions and scored two centuries in that spot. He also has two centuries from 17 innings batting at No.6 and has made 1225 runs at 51.04 combined in both positions.
“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 Tasmania order),” Wade said.
“I feel like if I give up the gloves completely, and go bat at four, and 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.
“I’ll sit down with Griff (coach Adam Griffiths), I’ve already had a conversation with him, and we will work out what’s best for Tasmania winning games and if that’s me batting No.5, if that’s me batting No.7, I don’t really care, I’ll go wherever I have to go.”
Wade took over the captaincy of the Tasmania Shield team earlier in the season after George Bailey resigned. But Tasmania do not play another Shield match until February 23, nearly three weeks after the Sri Lanka series has been completed.
Australia captain and wicketkeeper Tim Paine will be available for Tasmania for the last four Sheffield Shield rounds, which will be heavily scrutinised ahead of the Ashes touring squad being selected.