Matthew Wade to retire from First-class cricket post-Sheffield Shield final

New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) Matthew Wade, the seasoned Australian cricketer, has announced his decision to retire from first-class cricket following the Sheffield Shield final.

The 36-year-old Tasmanian wicketkeeper-batsman will bid adieu to the longer format after his 166th First-class match, representing Tasmania against Western Australia in Perth. The Hobart-born Wade has won four Shield titles with Victoria, including two as captain,

Despite his departure from the First-class arena, Wade will continue to grace the field in white-ball cricket and is anticipated to feature in Australia’s squad for the T20 World Cup scheduled for June.

Acknowledging his family’s support and sacrifices throughout his illustrious journey, Wade expressed gratitude to his loved ones and reminisced about the cherished moments donning the Baggy Green for his country. In a career spanning from 2012 to 2021, Wade made 36 Test appearances for Australia.

“Firstly, I would like to thank my family, my wife Julia, and kids Winter, Goldie, and Duke, for the sacrifices they have made throughout my career, as I travelled Australia and the world as a red ball cricketer.” Wade said in a statement. “I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenges that the long-form game provides, and although I will continue to play white ball cricket, wearing the baggy green while playing for my country remains a highlight of my career.

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“I am grateful to all of my team-mates throughout my career, along with Cricket Victoria for providing me with the foundations to grow as a first-class cricketer, and Cricket Tasmania for supporting me in finishing my career as a cricketer in my home state.”

While Wade faced a fluctuating trajectory in Test cricket, losing his wicketkeeping spot to Tim Paine during the 2017-18 Ashes series before making a spirited comeback against England in 2019. He briefly opened the batting for Australia in the 2020-21 series against India.

Ahead of the Shield final, he has scored 9183 runs at an average of 40.81 and picked up 463 dismissals in a First-class career that began in 2007.

“Red-ball cricket has always been my number one and favourite format,” Wade said at a press conference in Hobart. “What I’m going to miss is sitting down after four days of really grinding it out in a First-class game and having a beer with your teammates. I’ve played franchise leagues around the world and you don’t get that feeling.”

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Jeff Vaughan, Tasmania’s coach, lauded Wade’s professionalism and competitive spirit, recognizing his significant contributions to Tasmanian and Australian cricket. Despite bidding farewell to first-class cricket, Wade’s presence in Tasmania’s white-ball team and with the Hobart Hurricanes in the BBL promises to continue, providing invaluable experience and leadership to the younger talents.

“I would like to personally thank and congratulate Matthew for all he has done for Tasmania and Australia in red ball cricket, he was always professional, and never shied away from the contest

“While his career with our Shield squad may be coming to an end, we look forward to still having him around our group in white ball cricket for the coming years playing for the Tigers, and in purple for the Hurricanes.

Recent years have seen Wade grow as a finisher in the shorter formats; in the 2021 T20 World Cup semifinal, he scored a game-winning knock that forAustralia. His deal with the Hobart Hurricanes in the BBL extends for an additional two years.

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“I want to be at my best for white-ball cricket, especially BBL,” he said “I feel like the squad we’ve got with the Hurricanes should be, it is spoken about every year…pushing for finals if not contending for titles.

“Not playing the longer format of the game will give me an opportunity to get stronger, get in the gym a bit more and have some longevity in that format. I’ve got two years (with Hurricanes) but I’d love to play longer if I could. I feel fresh.

“There certainly isn’t [an element of] ‘I’m not playing well enough or I don’t feel I can contribute enough’. It’s more the younger players have managed to shove me out the door.”

–IANS

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