Australia batter Matthew Wade, who made an inspired comeback to the national side last year, hopes his versatility can earn him a berth in their squad for the 2020 T20 World Cup.
The 32-year-old, who had been out of the side since October 2017, stormed into Australia's Test squad ahead of the 2019 Ashes after exceptional domestic performances. Wade justified his selection almost immediately, scoring a resolute century in the first Test in Birmingham before capping the series with another hundred at The Oval.
He got a surprise recall to their T20 and ODI squads earlier this year, despite having featured in his last T20I international in 2016. The right-hander came into the mix after a spectacular BBL season with the Hobart Hurricanes, smashing 351 runs at 50.14 with a thunderous strike-rate of 171.21. While Wade could not make an impact in the T20Is against South Africa – he scored 18. 1 and 10 – he hopes that the batting versatility he displayed in the BBL will help him keep his spot in Australia's T20 squad going into the T20 World Cup.
"I played probably because Glenn Maxwell couldn't go on that tour [of South Africa]. I opened the batting a lot for the Hurricanes [in the BBL]. They see that I'm quite versatile in both positions, at No.6 and opening the batting," Wade said in a video conference on Tuesday, 9 June.
"In terms of playing in that team, I'd say Glenn would come back in that team since he's one of the best players in the world in T20. For me, I see myself as that spare player, spare batter, the spare keeper who can bat in all positions. That's what I am trying to maintain, that position in the squad."
Wade hopes that Australia, ranked No.1 on the MRF Tyres ICC Men's T20I Rankings, can win their maiden men's T20 World Cup title on home soil this time, but admits there's still some work to be done. "It'll be amazing to get the T20 World Cup, [which is] coming to Australia. But there's a lot of work to be done there as a T20 team. We're developing all the time, but we're not as settled in T20 international cricket as we are in Tests," he explained.
"If I was lucky enough to get a seat at that table, it'll be an awesome experience. I caught up late in the last World Cup in England, I was only there for a week. Fingers crossed, I'll get an opportunity to be involved in that tournament. It'll certainly be something to remember.
India set to play their first away day/night Test as Australia announce dates for the Border-Gavaskar series, and the inaugural Test against Afghanistan.— ICC (@ICC) May 28, 2020
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Wade also spoke about India's upcoming tour of Australia, where the two sides will clash in four Tests and three ODIs. The right-hand batsman, who has never played India at home in a Test series before, is looking forward to the challenge. The tour will also consist of a pink-ball Test in Adelaide, which will be India's first day-night assignment away from home.
"We've managed to get back to the No.1 spot in the world and they're No.2. One vs two is always a great clash," said Wade. "I have never played them in Australia, but twice in India, which is hard work for an Australian to go there. They're hard as any team I have ever played against. They're in your face, they're alert fielders. They're up and about all the time when you're batting. I watched a little bit of it the last time they were out here. I am looking forward to it.
"The pink-ball Test will be amazing. I know we played a lot of them in Australia in the past, [but with] India it'll be a different scenario. The crowd will be, well fingers crossed, the crowd will be buzzing then. Hopefully, we can have big crowds when that comes about. Their pace bowling is a challenge.
"Over the last four-five years, they've got a lot of fast bowlers now and swing bowlers. They'll be a handful. Traditionally we know that Adelaide's a tough place to bat, the ball can nip around quite a bit and swing. We're looking forward to it. They're a great team, and we're developing all the time. We're a little bit more settled team right now, over the last 12-18 months."
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