Matthew Wade has said he is not getting ahead of himself despite his likely Test debut looming on the horizon. Wade is expected to earn his first baggy green on Saturday next week, when the Australians take on West Indies in the first Test in Bridgetown, after the Test incumbent Brad Haddin flew home for family reasons and announced he would not rejoin the tour.
That will give Wade, 24, the perfect opportunity to make the Test position his own, with three matches on this tour and then a break until the start of the next Australian summer, by which time Haddin will be 35. But Wade said he was not thinking any further ahead than the Caribbean tour, and simply wanted to grab every opportunity that came his way.
"Every time you get a chance to show what you've got for Australia you're trying to do your best," Wade said in Barbados. "I'm just going to concentrate on these three games and look no further than that. Hopefully I do get the opportunity to play and can do well in these three games. If I look too far down the track that won't help me at all."
The New South Wales wicketkeeper Peter Nevill is also on the tour but Wade is clearly the first in line, as the incumbent in both the shorter formats and the man who was to be Haddin's Test backup in the original squad. Should he make his debut he will be part of an elite group of only five men to take the gloves in Tests since Ian Healy's retirement, the others being Adam Gilchrist, Haddin, Graham Manou and Tim Paine.
Wade said playing in the five ODIs and the Twenty20s in the West Indies had helped him adjust to the conditions ahead of the Test series, and he was also keen for some time at the crease during the three-day tour match ahead of the first Test. So far on the tour Wade has made scores of 0, 3, 2, 15 and 26, but his form in the Australian summer showed his value with the bat.
"The first three games I didn't get a lot of time in the middle, it was over pretty quick," he said. "But the last couple of games I've felt like I'm going in the right direction. I've had a little bit more time in the middle to get used to the conditions so hopefully the wicket has a bit of pace in it, which the Aussies will like a bit more.
"Playing the one-dayers and the Twenty20s has definitely helped me adjust to the conditions. The first few games were trying conditions, which we'll probably come against at some stage in this Test tour. So to get a little bit of experience under these conditions has been fantastic for me and hopefully it will hold me in good stead for the rest of the tour."
Wade said he felt for Haddin, whose sudden departure from the tour due to family reasons caught everyone by surprise.
"I think every human being is going to feel for someone in that situation," Wade said. "It's unfortunate and a sad situation. I feel for Brad that he's had to go home and give up the opportunity to play for Australia. It's obviously a pretty serious event to give up the opportunity to play for Australia."
The three-day tour match begins in Barbados on Monday and the first Test starts on Saturday, April 7.