Matthew Wade relaunched, without the gloves

Wade speaks to Sportstar about the turnaround in fortunes since the last Ashes, how becoming a father for the second time gave him perspective, and more.

Matthew Wade has been named in the Australia ODI and T20 squads for the South Africa tour.   -  Getty Images

Matthew Wade has returned to Australia's limited-overs squad for the first time in more than three years, having enjoyed a dominant Big Bash for the Hobart Hurricanes as captain. His unbeaten 130 off 61 balls in a magnificent 203-run first wicket stand with D’Arcy Short against Adelaide Strikers was one of the highlights of this BBL.

For South Africa’s tour of three ODIs and three T20Is, Wade has been named in the squads for both formats, with national selector Trevor Hohns attributing the selection to his ‘red hot’ form. “Matthew Wade is a very strong fielder, and a great person to have in any team. He can also substitute as wicketkeeper if required,” said Hohns.

Wade spoke to Sportstar about the turnaround in fortunes since the last Ashes, how becoming a father for the second time gave him perspective, and more.

Q. You played each of your first 22 Test matches as a wicketkeeper-batsman. It wasn’t until Edgbaston last year that you were picked as a specialist batsman. Has that role liberated you as a player?

A. It was clear when Painey (Tim Paine) came into the side and got picked as captain that my role, if I was to get back into the team, would be as a batsman only. I then gave up the gloves with Tasmania and challenged myself to bat higher up the order to make my case to the selectors. It is definitely a new role for me after keeping my whole life but I am loving my cricket at the moment.

Would you say your early days as a cricketer were rather dimmed by a fear factor of being dropped?

I think everyone is to an extent, you work so hard to get to the top level so it is never fun when you get dropped.

You earned a call-up in 2016 before being dropped again the following year, a few months before the Newlands ball-tampering scandal. How did the time you spent away from the national side help you?

I spent the time away with my family and doing an apprenticeship as a builder, in the time off we also had our second child. I think that put everything into perspective that I am coming towards the twilight of my career so I want to enjoy it as much as I can.

Having a slog works well for you in the nets, helps you focus even. Could you give us an insight on how?

Slogging in the nets helps me watch the ball and feel good about my batting. It is very satisfying feeling the ball coming powerfully off the middle of your bat and you never know when you are going to be in a situation where you might need to slog so it is always good to practise.

Many felt your reputation for abrasiveness was hindering you as much as it helped. Do you agree?

I don’t think it was ever hindering me, my philosophy has always been playing as hard as you can on the field but always being the first to have a beer with the opposition afterwards.

Lastly, are you a fan of four-day Tests or do you feel Test cricket should be left the way it is?

I think cricket should be left the way it is! I think if you make Tests go for four days, you will find the tactics change drastically and you will get a lot more teams batting for a draw on Day Four whereas results are fairly common in five-day cricket.

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