Australian cricket legend Mark Taylor believes Matthew Wade, regardless of how he fares in his second innings at The Gabba, deserves to keep his spot for the Test series against South Africa.
But the former captain says the Tasmanian must alter his mindset to ensure his promising starts build into regular centuries.
Speculation around Wade’s place in Australia’s XI is continuing to mount after the left-hander was dismissed for 45 on the opening day of the fourth Test, which made his series average just 24.71 from his seven innings.
Adding more fuel to the doubt surrounding his selection credentials is the fact he today again gifted India his wicket with a reckless shot, attempting a pull-shot off a ball that was too full and skying it to Shardul Thakur off Thangarasu Natarajan’s bowling.
But Taylor said today’s innings and the lack of competition for middle-order positions mean Wade should remain in the side for Australia’s three-Test tour of South Africa across February and March.
“No doubt (he’s done enough to keep his spot). Yes, he has,” Taylor told Wide World of Sports.
“Once again he’s shown that he can play. He comes in at 3-87 and all of a sudden Australia are in a bit of trouble and he plays very well. He got on with the game. He turned the game in Australia’s favour along with (Marnus) Labuschagne.
“Unfortunately for Matty, he again left the door open to speculation because he only made 45. He will be absolutely kicking himself tonight. That 45 could have easily been 75 not out tonight. If he’s 75 or 80 not out and kicks on and makes a hundred tomorrow, the speculation is gone. What he’s done is keep the door open for further speculation.
“But you’re only going to pick someone else for the South African tour if they are going to do a better job – and I don’t see that person out there.”
Wade has recorded scores of eight, 33, 30, 40, 13, four and 45 in this series.
One thing that’s likely working in his favour amid the debate surrounding his place in the side is the fact he shifted from the middle order to the top of the order for the first two Tests to fill the void left by David Warner and Will Pucovski.
When the two opening batsmen returned for the SCG Test, Wade slid back down the order and the out-of-form Travis Head was squeezed out of the side.
And he again departed in impulsive fashion when he charged down the wicket at the SCG and skied a Jadeja delivery to Jasprit Bumrah after the ball had caught the leading edge, before his wild dismissal at The Gabba followed.
Taylor said Wade had fallen into the trap of being too hungry for boundaries.
“He can play; there’s no doubt about that. He can play in the top six for Australia. But the one problem he has got is he tends to think four or nothing too much,” Taylor said.
“Today was a chance to accrue runs. He had done the hard yards.
“There were a couple of times today that he knocked the ball around for twos and threes. If he can do more of that and just keep the scoreboard ticking over, then when he feels he needs to hit a boundary get off strike, he’ll be right. Get a one or a three and get down the other end.
“He tends to sometimes purely focus on hitting boundaries and that’s when he gets in trouble and plays a rash shot.”
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