Articles

The curious case of warrior Wade

by Hreet N. Business
Two tense, closely fought semi-finals where the tables were turned in the last minute. Two heroes placed on different arcs on their journeys. For New Zealand, James Neesham was dying to write a redemption song after the 2019 World Cup final and he grabbed his opportunity. His career could well leapfrog from here. For Australia, Matthew Wade batting success has been so limited that by his own admission, he treats every match like his last.

Wade, approaching his 34th birthday, is usually lukewarm in T20Is, averaging 20 at a strike rate of 127. He doesn’t get picked in IPL; his only season was back in 2011. Since the last T20 World Cup, Alex Carey, Tim Paine and Peter Handscomb have all auditioned for the wicket keeper-batter’s role.
 
In Test match cricket, his last 50 came back in November 2019. He’s been more admired for his toughness. Remember him taking body blows from Neil Wagner's short-pitched barrage in a Test against New Zealand in 2019 but refusing to get lured into playing shots? He's got a penchant for the Aussie ploy of trying to get under the opponent's skin. He's picked fights with Virat Kohli, R Ashwin and Rishabh Pant. He is also a cancer survivor and sports a tattoo of Phillip Hughes, the Australian cricketer who died in 2014 after being hit by a ball that covers most of his right forearm.

All in all, Wade is a warrior. But his usual run of form must be part of the reason why Pakistan may have had a false sense of confidence that the match was won after all the big names--Aaron Finch, Dave Warner, Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell--were back in the pavilion. “It's hard to reflect so quickly, to be honest. It hasn't sunk in yet,” he said. “I'm happy that I got the opportunity to reinvent myself, go away and come back with more confidence and really feel like I belong at the international level now.”

In Dubai, it was Marcus Stoinis who first began firing against Harris Rauf. Then Wade took on Hasan Ali. “In the optional sessions, the day before the game, you'll find me, Steve Smith and Marcus Stoinis go down in closed sessions because we haven't got a lot of match practice,” Wade said. “There are only three or four batters that go to those sessions. I think they've been invaluable for us to be able to go in there hit a lot of balls be able to see each other work on our games.”

Once victory became more probable, Wade lap-scooped his way to glory against Shaheen Shah Afridi. “I've been playing them (laps) from early on in my career as well. But, yes, certainly something I needed to tap back into a little bit more when I'm batting down the bottom,” he said. “It's easy to have the fine leg up a lot of the time at the end, but someone that laps, it kind of opens up the whole field for you.”

It certainly did, on Wade’s night of reckoning. Afridi’s figures, mid-way through his final over were 3.3 – 17 – 1. After Wade’s hat-trick of sixes, they read 4-35-1. Wade had done to Afridi what Michael Hussey had done to Saeed Ajmal, a decade back in a Australia-Pakistan T20 World Cup semi-final at Gros Islet. Pakistan’s expected hero had seen a reversal of fortunes. Australia had found an unlikely new hero. Matthew who? Wade!


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About Hreet N. Innovator   Business

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Joined APSense since, October 25th, 2021, From New Delhi, India.

Created on Feb 4th 2022 06:17. Viewed 98 times.

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