Matthew Wade is in the wars. The black eye he carried through the second Test last week had only just subsided when he was left writhing in pain, this time on a basketball court.
Former Australian gloveman Brad Haddin was placed on standby on Sunday, told to be ready to race to the airport and catch the first flight to India if scans on Wade’s right ankle turn up anything more than minor bruising.
The Victorian had been engaging in some hoops with paceman Peter Siddle and a few support staff on a court not far from the team’s Chandigarh base when his ankle gave way.
The Australians were enjoying a two-day break from training before ramping up preparations for the third Test in Mohali, starting on Thursday. Captain Michael Clarke took off to the Taj Mahal, Nathan Lyon checked out the zoo and others simply hung around the hotel.
A game of basketball for Wade and Siddle was meant to be a bit of fun but turned out just the latest blow on the Australian tour.
Only a week ago Wade was smacked in the face while practising the sweep shot on the eve of the second Test in Hyderabad. The result was a fractured cheekbone but, after taking a bucket of ice to bed, the 25-year-old played.
Whether he can back up this time from a painful swollen ankle is yet to be determined.
”I don’t know the extent of the injury but with Matty I definitely think he’s a chance of carrying it through if it’s only something minor,” said all-rounder Moises Henriques. ”He won’t be training with us, but he’s as tough a little character as there is, so if there’s a chance of him playing, he will.”
Wade will be desperate not to relinquish his place, particularly given Haddin’s run-scoring form during the domestic season.
The 35-year-old played the last of his 43 Tests against India in Adelaide 14 months ago before being replaced by Wade on the tour of the West Indies last year when he had to return home for family reasons before a match was played.
Haddin’s spot had already been on the line after a poor stretch of form that cost him his place in the Australian one-day side. But the veteran’s relegation to the NSW ranks this season has given him a new lease on life. He is among the top 10 scorers in the Sheffield Shield with 468 runs in seven games at an average of 52, a tally that includes two hundreds. He has another century in the Ryobi Cup, where he is averaging 42.
He also captained the Sydney Sixers to victory at the rich T20 Champions League in South Africa in October.
Wade has also been among the runs at international level, scoring his second Test ton in Sydney in January and then adding an impressive 62 while most others failed in Hyderabad.
The downside was that his glovework was at times suspect over the summer.
”Bradley is such a seasoned campaigner now and he has toured here before so he has got that experience,” Henriques said.
”I’m sure if he was needed, he’d certainly come in and do a fantastic job.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.