Australia could hand over T20I captaincy to Matthew Wade: Reports

Matthew Wade could be in line to replace Aaron Finch at the helm of affairs in the shortest format of the game. 
 
Matthew Wade

Matthew Wade has been an integral part of Australia's T20I plans for his end-overs aggressor's duties. 

 Australia could reportedly consider handing over their T20I captaincy to Matthew Wade prior to the T20 World Cup at home if skipper Aaron Finch's form remains an issue or the opening batter gets down with an injury, a report in the Sydney Morning Herald said. 

The report mentioned that Wade is next in line for captaincy in the shortest format, where Finch had said he will be considering his future at the end of the forthcoming home summer, headlined by the World Cup in October-November. The cricketer has already retired from ODIs, leaving the captaincy post vacant there as well. 

Matthew Wade has previously stood up for Finch when the latter missed one of the T20Is from the home series against India in December 2020 in Sydney. The wicketkeeper-batter has been previously tipped for full-time T20I captaincy, with CA noting him down as a "seasonal state captain" and "one of the most critical members of the side", said the SMH report published Tuesday (September 27). 

Wade, who was one of the heroes of Australia's maiden men's T20 World Cup triumph last winter, has been a critical end-overs powerhitter for his side. Since the beginning of 2022, the left-hander has blasted his runs at a strike-rate of 164.91. Wade was outstanding in the recent T20I series versus India, carrying a strike-rate of 202.27 over the three-match rubber. 

Matthew Wade to be Australia's next T20I captain? 

If not the looming T20 World Cup, Wade could certainly be considered for captaincy ahead of the next edition of the marquee ICC event in the Caribbean and USA in 2024. 

The 34-year-old cricketer, who was denied a contract with CA earlier in the year as he plies his trade as a specialist T20 player, could be seen captaining Australia next season, with Finch indicating he could hang his boots from the shortest format as well. 

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Disciplinary issues, however, don't paint the brightest of image for Wade in the Australian set-up at a time when the dust has not entirely settled down on Tim Paine's suspension as Test captain for inappropriate messages to a co-working woman ahead of the Ashes 2021-22. 

"Prior to the 2018 cultural review of Australian cricket, Wade had been selected on at least one occasion for his ‘mongrel’ and verbals from behind the stumps, replacing Peter Nevill in the Test team in November 2016. It was a move that left then-selector Greg Chappell aghast," the SMH report said. 

In his book 'Not Out', Chappell wrote: "I stated, ‘that’s never been a criteria for picking a Test team that I have ever heard of, and we shouldn’t be starting now."

"As the idea developed in the meeting I just shook my head, saying ‘no, we cannot go down this path’," he added.