Matthew Wade, the recalled Australian wicketkeeper, believes he has noticeably improved behind the stumps since he last played Test cricket more than three years ago.
The 28-year-old was a contentious replacement for incumbent wicketkeeper Peter Nevill, as Australian selectors wielded the axe after successive Test thrashings to South Africa. Wade will play in the Adelaide Test starting on Thursday (November 24), his first Test since the tour of India in early 2013.
Nevill had been preferred because of his apparent superior glove-work but Wade’s prowess with the bat has provided a lifeline. Wade scored two tons and averaged 34.61 through 12 Tests in 2012-13, while Nevill averages just 22 from 17 Tests.
Wade believed his wicketkeeping had gotten better since his last Test match. “I think I’ve improved, obviously,” Wade said on Monday (November 21). “I wasn’t playing well enough at the time to be picked as a wicketkeeper in Test cricket and now I have been picked as a Test wicketkeeper,” he said. “There’s always a lot of talk about keeping and batting and the skill set, but I’ll just come and do my best and contribute the best I can for the team. It’s not about me.”
Wade, who is colour blind, was confident he would have no problems seeing the pink ball, which will be used during the day-night Test in Adelaide. “You’ve just got to get used to it. I think it’s trying to get it out of your mind,” he said. “I can see the colour of the ball, I pick it up. It’s just at times it takes a little bit longer to work out the depth of where it’s coming.
“I’ve got more used to it I suppose. The more you play, you get more used to it,” he added.
Wade said he was fascinated about how the new-look Kookaburra, which has changed the colour of the seam from green to black since last year’s inaugural day-night Test, would fare. “The ball is getting better year in, year out. It’ll be interesting to see what it does,” he said.