Gutsy in cricket is a word you would associate with someone like Graeme Smith or Anil Kumble. Matthew Wade, Australia's wicket-keeper, is no Smith. Neither is he a Kumble. But his rise to the Baggy Green level wasn't a path covered with a bed of roses.
Wade has had several personal setbacks in his life and to overcome all that to represent Australia at the highest level shows the kind of determination and grit you would associate with great cricketers. He may not be there yet but after fighting his way back into the 11 yet another time, Wade has to be taken seriously.
The 29-year-old had fought his way past Brad Haddin to become Australia's premier keeper in 2012. But by the time the Ashes returned in 2013, he was replaced by Haddin. The retirement of Haddin opened the door for Wade again but this time only in the limited overs formats.
Peter Nevill was preferred in the Test team. Once Nevill struggled to string together scores that counted, Wade pushed his way back into the squad yet again in the series against South Africa last year.
On that note, take a look at a few things you probably didn’t know about Australia’s wicket-keeper.
#5 First score of note came when opening the innings
Wade's success in domestic limited overs cricket meant that he was called up to the national T20 team in 2011 for a match against the Proteas. But it took a while before he could make an impact in the squad.
That came in February in the next year in a T20 against India in Sydney. It was George Bailey's captaincy debut for Australia and Wade was pushed up to open the batting. With Australia batting first, the wicket-keeper batsman played without pressure and compiled his maiden half-century for the Aussies.
A terrific innings studded with some innovative shots and sheer power, Wade had made the Aussie fans sit up and take notice of him. He made 72 from 43 balls setting up a total of 171 for Australia which India did not even manage to come close to.
#4 Man of the Match in debut ODI
Wade's terrific T20 innings paved the way for his entry into the ODI side for the 2011-12 Commonwealth series. Once again Australia were facing India although the venue was the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Once again asked to open the batting, Wade smacked 67 from 69 balls in a rain-shortened game. His powerful pull shots and quick running between the wickets was a point of discussion after the innings. On the back of his knock, Australia made 216 in 32 overs.
India were bowled out for 151 with the keeper taking two crucial catches behind the stumps. He won the Man of the Match award for his terrific innings in tough conditions in what was a dream debut for the youngster.
#3 Wade was diagnosed with testicular cancer at 16
Matthew Wade was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the tender age of 16 by accident. During a football match, Wade got hit on the groin with the blow causing him immense pain.
He consulted a doctor after the match because there was a slight swelling and much to the horror of his family, the doctor discovered something even more serious. "Had it not been for that hit in the testicles, I wouldn't have had any idea," Wade had said in a chat with Foxsports.com. "It was just fate. It could have gone on for months and I would not have known what was happening."
Beating cancer, Wade emerged a braver figure and his love for cricket and football multiplied.
#2 Day-night games are more difficult for Wade
Matthew Wade finds day-night matches tough as he has a problem picking up the colour of the ball. Wade is colour blind and hence it is difficult for him to pick up the colour, depth and speed at which the ball is travelling.
Yet, he was recalled to the Australian Test team for the day-night Test against the Proteas last year. "I think it’s trying to get it out of your mind. I can see the colour of the ball, I pick it up. It’s just at times it takes a little bit longer to work out the depth of where it’s coming," Wade stated before that game.
What is interesting to note is that Wade isn't Australia's first colour blind player, with former opener Chris Rogers also suffering from the same problem.
#1 He was elevated to ODI captaincy only to be injured and replaced
When Australia announced their ODI squad to take on the Kiwis in a three-match series in New Zealand, they needed a new captain. Steven Smith was out injured and Warner was rested which meant Australia were without their two senior players.
Wade, who had just been recalled to national colours a few months ago, was made the skipper. However, an eleventh hour back injury forced him out of the series and Aaron Finch, another player recalled to the squad, was appointed as the skipper.
The wicket-keeper batsman woke up on the morning of the first ODI with a back spasm and struggled to train with his teammates. A quick scan revealed a back injury and he was ruled out of the match and series with Peter Handscomb being made the wicket-keeper.