Need for all-rounder and poor form mean Maddinson exit
WITH the bowling attack crying out for an all-rounder and Shaun Marsh available again for selection, Nic Maddinson's poor form has made his immediate future in the Test team increasingly untenable.
Coming to the crease at 4-374 on Thursday on the flattest of MCG wickets, Maddinson squandered a golden chance to produce a career-saving hundred.
Hope is not lost for Maddinson when you consider his 27 runs from his first four Test innings puts him in the company of Steve Waugh (26), Matt Hayden (25) and Martin Crowe (20), names who all overcame sluggish starts to become all-time greats of the game.
However, if Maddinson is to prove himself as a Test player, he will need a second coming to do so, with Australia set to make some big and immediate decisions for February's Test tour of India.
Matt Wade is also on thin ice after yet another failure with the bat, but if selectors are to move on the wicketkeeper it's highly unlikely that would happen before the Sydney Test.
Of the three new batsmen selectors called in to revamp a busted top order in Adelaide, Maddinson was always the biggest risk, given he had a first-class average of just 37.
Captain Steve Smith is a big believer in Maddinson's abilities as a game-breaker, but a Test initiation of 0, 1, 4 and 22 suggests the left-hander from NSW needs to go back to the drawing board of domestic cricket to try to bring consistency to his game.
Hilton Cartwright was picked as a batting all-rounder in the Boxing Day squad, but didn't play, and is the leading contender if Australia go for a seam bowling No. 6 with a solid run-scoring average.
Travis Head and Glenn Maxwell are the options if Australia wants a spin all-rounder for a turning SCG surface, a move which would also give them an eye to the tour of India.
And if Australia wants to strengthen up its top six batting, Shaun Marsh - who lost his place in the team due to a broken finger in Perth - is back from surgery and given he's a near certainty for India it might be worthwhile recalling him for Sydney.
Meanwhile, Wade knows he needs runs to strengthen his place in the team.
His past six innings for Australia and Victoria read 9, 7, 1 not out, 4, 6 and 3 - this for a player recalled because Peter Nevill wasn't scoring enough runs.
It's unhealthy to turnover glove men willy-nilly, and Wade deserves to see out this series, but if he can't make a solid contribution with the bat in Sydney, Australia must seriously reconsider Nevill for India where soft hands are paramount.
Wade feels he has improved his glovework and his leadership role in the team can't be underestimated.
He stands next to Steve Smith all day and helps the captain co-ordinate his moves along with vice-captain David Warner who delivers messages to the bowlers.
However, Wade realises that runs are his most important currency.
"From the get-go I've been told to come in and make a presence on the ground and I feel like I've done that on the ground with my wicketkeeping but I want to get some runs,” said Wade on ABC Grandstand.
"I feel like I've been hitting the ball well for a long period of time and now I just need to put some runs on the board.
"I feel like I'm improving. The hardest thing is to come out and perform every day in Test cricket. To put all the media and scrutiny behind you and try and focus on what you're doing day in and day out.
"I feel like I'm getting there.”
The Daily Telegraph