Back in 2018, Matthew Wade had conceded that his international career was all but over. That was on the back of an indifferent summer in domestic cricket, which saw him lose his Test place to Tim Paine, while he was replaced by Alex Carey in the white-ball cricket.
“I got an opportunity to play a lot for Australia and I’m thankful I did get that opportunity. Now it’s just about enjoying my cricket for the next three, four, five years hopefully. When you get dropped from all formats in summer, I would be surprised if they go back to me,” Wade told reporters back then.
On Thursday, when he, along with Marcus Stoinis, carried Australia to the T20 World Cup final, the wicketkeeper-batsman turned philosophical. A failed chase could have made him the fall guy again. But at 33 years of age, Wade sees things differently.
“I don’t feel like it’s on the line anymore because I’m not 23 anymore. And if this is it, this is it. It’s not really on the line for me. It’s going to be all over, I suppose,” he said at the post-match press conference.
Of course he was nervous, Australia reeling at 96/5, chasing a big target. The fact that it could have been his last outing for Australia played on Wade’s mind. “A little bit, I think… I was a little bit nervous coming into the game and knowing potentially it could be the last opportunity to represent Australia.”
The fascinating part of Wade and Stoinis’ unbroken 81-run partnership was its tactical side, first slowing the game down when Pakistan were on top, then going full-throttle. Three consecutive sixes from Wade off Shaheen Shah Afridi sealed the deal for Australia and the last one was an audacious lap over the fine leg boundary.
Wade likes to play the shot, but it has also brought about his downfall many times, especially in the BBL. He had earlier spoken about working extra-time to iron out the flaws, but Wade never thought about shunning it completely.
The advantage of playing the lap is that when a fine leg is up, it opens up a vast space for the batsman behind the ‘keeper on the leg side. And with someone like Afridi bowling quick, Wade could use the pace of the ball.
“But I was thankful I got a few away at the end. And it’s crucial for someone like me in the innings to open up the grounds for me,” he said.