Matt’s flat patch opens door for bolter
FORMER Test batsman Mark Waugh is concerned a faltering Matthew Renshaw may have wobbled his way out of Test contention for the second year running at the same time another stunning left-field bolter has emerged from the Tasmanian wilderness.
This time last year it was Tim Paine coming from the clouds to wear the gloves for the Ashes.
Now the man he usurped Matthew Wade is making a compelling case to play against India this summer … as a specialist batsman.
Wade, who was virtually resigned to never playing Test cricket again after being dumped 12 months ago, made a superb fighting 137 to get Tasmania back into a contest against Victoria where they looked dead and buried and the former keeper possesses as good a record as any of the batters vying for Test selection, averaging 95.
Former teammate Ed Cowan and former Shield run-machine Jamie Cox both argue Wade could do a sterling job at No.6 on the strength of his two Test centuries being proof that he is a batsman of serious ability.
Shaun Marsh could be a shock candidate to open the batting alongside Aaron Finch for the first Test after making a superb matchwinning 163 not out for Western Australia.
His hot run of form after originally being under searing pressure to hold his spot is a massive boon for Australian selectors who will be relying on him and Usman Khawaja to lead the way with Steve Smith and David Warner suspended.
But of huge concern was the way Renshaw handled his selection shootout against NSW's all-Australian attack in Canberra, where he made just 21 runs in the first innings and six in the second.
Recently departed selector Waugh responded to a prospective Test XI offered up by former spin king Shane Warne on twitter that he had major concerns about Renshaw.
Not only for the manner of his dismissal but the way he reacted to edging behind off Josh Hazlewood in the second innings, where he stood at the crease in disbelief.
Renshaw was the spare batsman for the recent Test tour of the UAE and was desperately unlucky not to get a game against Pakistan given his run of outstanding first-class form.
But after missing out there Renshaw's timing has been poor and a score of 89 is his only decent showing in three Shield matches.
England recently trumped Sri Lanka away by picking keepers Ben Foakes and Jos Buttler in the same XI and former Tasmanian Cox says Australia should consider following a similar path with Wade.
"Matt Wade to bat 6 v India? Poms were bold enough to play Foakes and Buttler in Sri Lanka - seemed to go OK?"
Cowan agreed that Wade's batting stands up on its own two feet.
"If they are trying to pick one of the best 6 batsmen then a very reasonable selection," wrote Cowan.
"A reminder he has two Test hundreds and one was in a game in the WI (West Indies) that was turning at right angles. The bloke can seriously bat."