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Wade Eyes World Cup With Test Dream Over

17 September 2018

Matthew Wade has his sights set on a limited-overs return, while he has revealed his days behind the stumps in first-class cricket are limited.

Tasmanian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade has his sights set on next year's World Cup in England as he reveals he's aiming on giving up the gloves in first-class cricket to play as a specialist batsman in the second half of his career.

While Wade admits his Test career is likely over after he was dropped for last summer's Ashes Series, he believes there are spots up for grabs in Australia's limited-overs sides.

"I don't think I'll probably play Test cricket again, not as a wicketkeeper-batter anyway," Wade told cricket.com.au

"I still have the ambition to play white-ball cricket for Australia though.

"With the World Cup just around the corner, I don't feel that anyone's cemented their spots since I went out of the team 12 months ago in white-ball cricket.

"I feel like if I'm given the opportunity again, if things fall into place close to the World Cup, I can still play in that for sure."

Wade was dropped from Australia's one-day outfit after the fifth ODI against India in Nagpur last October and was replaced by his Test successor Tim Paine.

But in the nine matches Paine has played since returning to the 50-over team, he has averaged 21.85 with a top score of 34, while Alex Carey, considered to be the next in line, has played just one ODI – last summer in Brisbane where he scored 27 on debut.

Carey is the country's first-choice T20 wicketkeeper having taken over the gloves from Paine after the Ashes and looks ensconced in that side, which is ranked No.3 in the world.

While Paine and Carey were standing behind the stumps in different formats in the international arena, Wade spent the second half of last summer plundering runs for Tasmania at the domestic level.

The left-hander struck three centuries in the final five matches of the JLT Sheffield Shield season, including 108 in their Grand Final defeat to Queensland in Brisbane.

That prolific run of form confirmed in Wade's mind what he had been pondering the past few seasons, of finishing his career as a specialist batsman in four-day cricket.

"I want to be as good a batter as I can be," he said. "I'd like to be able to not keep and play as a batter in the last few years of my career. That's where I'd like to get to.

"Whether or not it happens, I'll continue to play my role for the team and at the moment that's still wicket-keeping and batting.

"But I'm working towards becoming the best player I can be.

Wade said the shock elevation of Paine to Australia's Test XI had nothing to do with his desire to give up the gloves.

"I've thought about it for years, to be honest,” said Wade, who has 12 first-class centuries and an average of 38.16.

"I'll play as a keeper-batter in the white-ball (formats) probably until the end of my career.

"I feel I'm moving towards becoming more of a batter toward the back end of my career, but at the moment I'll be playing as a wicketkeeper.

"'Painey' will be away quite a bit and when he comes back I'll be playing as a batter.

"It's something that's been on the cards for years to be honest, I just feel more comfortable talking about it now."

Tasmania coach Adam Griffith said Wade's spot in the Tigers’ top six is secured, and that having perhaps the two best wicketkeeper-batsmen in the country in the same squad, presents a welcome problem.

"Matthew is our keeper with the Tasmanian team when Tim is away with the Australian team," Griffith told cricket.com.au.

"It was an interesting situation last year. At the start of the season, Matthew was our No.1 keeper until Tim got picked in the Australian team and that changed the situation when that happened.

"'Wadey' did an outstanding job with the gloves last year and obviously his batting was there for all to see.

"He's definitely cemented his spot in that top six as a batter and it's just awesome he's one of our best keepers as well who can do a job behind the stumps.

"It gives us real flexibility in all formats of the game, not just the long format.

"It allows us to pick different players in different positions when you know you've got one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen in the country in your team and the other best wicketkeeper-batsman is in the Test team.

"It's a pretty good problem for us to have at the moment."

Wade puts his resurgence with the bat down to two things - working with Tigers Senior Assistant Coach Jeff Vaughan and having the time to work with Vaughan for an extended period out of the national set-up.

"The hard thing when you're playing for Australia a lot of the time is you go from game to game, so you don't have a lot of time to work on your game for long periods of time," Wade said.

"After I got dropped out of the Test team I did a bucket load of work with Jeff Vaughan – he's as good a coach as I've ever worked with.

"And I felt really comfortable with my stance, I was a lot stiller, I wasn't moving around the crease as much as I was when I was in the Australian team.

"You see it a lot, players go out of the Australian team and come back better players.

"It's probably because they get to go back and nail down a skill level that's near impossible to do at times when you're playing in the Australian team.

"Put the heat of the contest and the pressure on top of that and things can fall away quite quickly."

At 30, Wade has plenty of years left as a professional cricketer, and he's determined to make certain that he exits the game with no regrets.

And he says there's still facets of his game that remain unfulfilled.

"I want to sit down at the end of it and say, I gave it every shot and I didn't leave any stone unturned, in terms of getting the best out of myself," he said.

"It's not a short-term goal for me, it's a longer-term goal: I want to be the best player I can possibly be, and continue to get better at T20 cricket.

"I want to improve in that space as well. I still haven't hit my potential in that format at the moment."