Wade confident back will stand Indian test | cricketnetwork.com

Wade confident back will stand Indian test

16 February 2017

Keeper says he can manage bulging disc as Aussies prepare for warm-up clash in Mumbai

While Matthew Wade concedes there is no guaranteed fix for the bulging disc in his back that "just went" on him in New Zealand recently, he is volubly confident the issue won't flare again during the coming four-Test series against India.

Wade, who had been installed as Australia's ODI captain for this month's Chappell-Hadlee Trophy campaign in the absence of Steve Smith (ankle injury) and David Warner (rested), was forced home prematurely from that week-long tour because of his back complaint.

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The 29-year-old received a cortisone injection in Australia last week, and admitted it took two or three days for the pain to subside sufficiently to allow him to travel to Dubai where his Test teammates were engaged in a pre-India training camp.

The fact that the problem, which Wade has managed over a heavy playing schedule in recent years, became so severe that he was forced to quit the NZ tour prompted speculation he might represent a fitness risk on a campaign as gruelling as the current Qantas Tour of India.

But the combative keeper today moved to dispel those doubts, claiming he was fit to take his place behind the stumps for the three-day tour game against India A that begins in Mumbai tomorrow and the opening Test that begins next Thursday.

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Adding that if the issue flares once more during the upcoming Tests in Pune, Bengaluru, Ranchi and Dharamsala he believes it will be overcome quickly and won't impact upon his availability to play.

"It's just something that I'll have to manage," Wade said today, prior to Australia's final pre-game training session at Mumbai's Brabourne Stadium where the tour match will be played.

"Obviously the scheduling (over the Australia summer) and then getting off a plane (in New Zealand), it just went on me.

"The disc just bulged a little bit but it just hit one of the nerves, so it took a little while to come right.

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"I've done the same thing before in other tours and it usually comes right overnight but this one took a little bit longer, so it's just something I have to keep on top of.

"I've done it before, touch wood it doesn't happen again but if it does I'm confident that I can turn it around pretty quick."

If the troublesome disc in his back won't curtail Wade's preparation for the toughest assignment in world cricket at this time – tackling India on their home soil – then the thought of a rival is unlikely to lodge in the back of his mind.

However, the form that Peter Nevill – Wade's predecessor in the Test line-up who was partly deposed due to a lack of runs but who has since posted three centuries in four Sheffield Shield appearances – is currently enjoying will become a talking point should Wade stumble.

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Either through fitness concerns, or form with the gloves in an environment that is universally regarded the toughest for those who practice the wicketkeeping craft.

Wade has experience playing Test cricket on the subcontinent, having been the incumbent keeper on Australia's previous Test campaign here in 2013 that ended in an infamously disastrous 0-4 drubbing.

All but the most biased judges agree his keeping skills have improved sharply over the intervening three years, and the Tasmanian-born Victoria skipper is undaunted by the prospect that awaits.

Despite the knowledge he will spend a majority of his time in the middle stood up to the stumps for spin bowlers, trying to pouch balls that leap, skid and veer violently off the invariably dry, wearing surfaces.

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"It's trying to get all that out of your mind and stick to the basics," Wade said today when asked about the challenges that await wicketkeepers in India.

"The ball that turns and bounces, you'll react if your technique's good.

"It's about trying to hone my technique in the next week or two, then when you do get one that spits out of the rough it's just trusting your technique.

"But I quite enjoy keeping over here, the ball beats the bat a lot more up to the stumps so that's probably the challenge.

"In Australia the ball doesn't beat the bat consistently so it's hard to get a consistent rhythm up to the stumps.

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"Here you are obviously in the game a lot more.

"It's definitely tougher in India.

"There's balls that are going to hit the rough and go down, there's one that's going to go over the top of your head.

"Stuff's going to happen in this country, I understand that.

"It's a challenge mentally more than physically.

"It's about trying to stay up and about for four Tests in a row in a tough country, against a really good opposition.

"So I've got to be prepared for that and obviously coming here before makes a big difference.

"I know what I'm up for now, which is good."

About the Writer


Andrew Ramsey is the senior writer for cricket.com.au. He previously wrote for the Guardian, The Australian, The Times, The Telegraph, The Hindu and Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack and the author of The Wrong Line.