Matthew Wade © Getty Images
Matthew Wade © Getty Images

Australia are still not sure about who will keep wickets for The Ashes of 2017-18. Several former cricketers have given their verdict.

Peter Nevill, who has not played at the international arena for a while, spoke about his chances to make it for the Ashes. He was also learning tricks of the trade from Australia’s former wicketkeeper Ian Healy.

However, this time, the out-of-form Matthew Wade has broken his silence on the much debated topic. The wicketkeeper is confident of producing runs, outrightly saying, “I’m still the man for the job.”

Wade was called into the squad when Nevill was axed after losing the second Test against South Africa last year in Hobart. Ever since, Wade has managed to score 236 runs off 10 Tests at 20.23. While speaking to Jim Maxwell on ABC Grandstand, Wade explains about his slow beginnings, “When I got back into the Test team in the summer I’d put a lot of work into my one-day cricket and it took a little bit of time to get going again (against the red ball). I played a lot of one-day cricket before my recall to the Test team and I changed a few things technically to be more effective in one-day cricket so it took me a little bit of time to work through those.”

Although Wade did not have a pleasing start against South Africa and Pakistan, he made the India tour count. He was the third leading run-scorer behind Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell, scoring 196 in 32.66 off 4 Tests.

Wade recalls his nine First-Class centuries, including two at Test level, off 110 matches. A confident Wade added, “I don’t feel out of form as such. Yeah, I haven’t scored the big runs that I know I can do but I still feel like I contributed, especially in India, and the stuff I do around the team is important. I don’t feel like it’s a crisis, I still feel like I’m hitting the ball well, you’ve just got to make runs, that’s the aim of the game, and I’m confident in my batting. My keeping was always the question mark and people have asked about that for a long period of time, now it seems to have moved to my batting. So it’s to-and-fro a little bit and I need to get both sides of my game working at the same time.”

With a lot of pressure on Nevill and Wade, both wicketkeeper-batsmen have the chance to prove their worth through JLT Sheffield Shield matches.

Wade is also confident of his wicketkeeping skills unlike his batting that disappointed many, “I had a lot of technical flaws towards the back end of my stint as an Australia keeper that first time (but now) I feel really confident in my keeping. I feel like over a long period of time I’ve shown I can bat and the keeping was always the issue. I feel like I’m keeping better than ever so if you put the two together I still feel like I’m the man for the job. That’s for the selectors to decide but I feel over a 10-year career I’ve put plenty of runs on the board and can play at Test level.”