Former batsman Dean Jones believes wicketkeeper Mathew Wade’s performance against India in Australia’s grueling Tests series could be key to their chances of winning the four-match series.
“The selectors don't like wicketkeepers being captain as their workloads, particularly in India, are just too demanding.
“Then again, the last time Australia won in India was in 2004. Adam Gilchrist was captain replacing an injured Ricky Ponting,” Jones wrote in his column for the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Gilchrist was exceptional behind the stumps, and his leadership helped Australia to win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
“So where is Wade at? He made 311 Test runs over the summer at a solid average of 44 and took 22 catches. It looks like a great summer for Wade, but was it? It is funny how we grade keepers on their performance,” he added.
“We judge batsmen on runs scored, never look at how many times they got dropped or played and missed or were nearly run out. Bowlers are the same. We look at wickets taken, the bowling averages, coupled with economy rates.
“Not how many times they had chances missed off their bowling. Yet with wicketkeepers, we judge them harshly. We don't think of how many catches were taken, we just look at the missed catches and stumpings. But what is an accepted percentage of missed chances?” Jones said.
“Wade did miss a few, but overall, he had a pretty good summer. When you play in tours such as this Indian series, you mess up here and your career is on the rocks.
“Australia's success will come down to how Wade keeps and bats. He has such an important role that he needs to stand up and show Ian Healy and others know how good he is.
“These magical contests always produce a new star. Will Wade put his demons and critics aside and rise to stardom? He couldn't ask for a better stage to do just that,” said the Australian.
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