Aussie star ‘signs his own death warrant’
Former Australian all-rounder Simon O'Donnell says Matthew Wade has "signed his own death warrant" by agreeing to open the batting in the first Test against India as he fights to keep his place in the side.
The Aussie top order was in disarray heading into the clash at Adelaide Oval. Joe Burns was woefully out of form, David Warner was out injured with a groin strain and prodigious young gun Will Pucovski was missing with concussion.
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Burns was retained and repaid the selectors' faith with an unbeaten half century in the second innings of Australia's incredible eight-wicket win - and Wade was asked to open alongside him, jumping up from his customary No. 6 position.
The left-hander made eight from 51 balls in the first dig and 33 in the second before being run out in bizarre fashion by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.
Wade scored two centuries in last year's Ashes but had only middling returns against Pakistan and New Zealand last summer, making just one half century in seven innings - although he was not out twice.
When fit, Warner will walk back into the side and Burns' undefeated 51 ensures he will avoid the axe. Pucovski will also be vying for a place when he recovers, leaving him and Wade to fight it out with Adelaide debutant Cameron Green for one batting position.
That would leave Wade in a tight spot, and selectors may be inclined to go with the youth of Pucovski or Green ahead of the 32-year-old left-hander, even though he has done little wrong since he returned to the Test team in 2019 after a lengthy absence.
Agreeing to open the batting despite never having done so in his first class career meant Wade was leaving himself vulnerable to failure in a position he's not accustomed to, and O'Donnell believes that may eventually cost him his place in the first XI.
"I think Matthew Wade has signed his own death warrant, just from being a really good team man and doing the right thing," O'Donnell told SEN Breakfast.
"When David Warner's ready to come back in, he comes straight back in. The guy who goes is Mathew Wade."
Former Australian T20 quick Dirk Nannes said it would be grossly unfair if Wade was dropped after being forced out of position to help the side.
"What's Wade done to get out of the side? He's done nothing wrong," Nannes told ABC Grandstand.
"That just cannot happen. It is not fair if he misses out on the next Test match."
However, Wade may benefit from a brief stay of execution and be given at least one more chance to press his claims. The Daily Telegraph reports Pucovski won't be rushed into the team for the Boxing Day Test, while Warner is also unlikely to be fit for the clash in Melbourne.
Meanwhile, Burns has been cleared of a broken arm after being hit by a bouncer on day three of Australia's win in Adelaide.
Originally published as Aussie star 'signs his own death warrant'