WELLINGTON: Australia are confident wicketkeeper Matt Wade will be fit for the upcoming test tour of India and have no plans to call up another gloveman as a precaution, according to coach Darren Lehmann. Wade, who took over as first choice wicketkeeper from Peter Nevill last November, missed two one-day internationals against New Zealand last week because of back spasms despite being initially named as stand-in captain for Steve Smith. Lehmann, though, said Wade had already departed for the pre-series training camp in the United Arab Emirates. “He’ll be fine. He’s got on the plane,” he told reporters in Hamilton. “If there was any doubt, he wasn’t going to get on the plane. So that’s a good thing.” The 29-year-old Wade was replaced behind the stumps for the defeats in Auckland and Hamilton by middle order batsman Peter Handscomb, who also stood in when the wicketkeeper was taken sick during the third test against Pakistan in January. Lehmann said Handscomb’s performances were convincing enough not to warrant a call-up for Nevill, who has been in fine form with the bat in domestic cricket. “He was a bit rusty when he only got 10 minutes notice at Eden Park,” Lehmann added. “(But) he kept well (in Hamilton).”
Wade will be assessed after his flight and his match fitness tested in warm up matches in the UAE and Mumbai. “Unless something flares up during the Dubai leg or tour game, we’ll stay status quo. The bonus with the squad is you’ve got someone who can keep pretty well. That’s handy, having that just in case something happens.” Wade was required as stand-in captain in New Zealand because Smith suffered an ankle injury but Lehmann said the Australia skipper was already in Dubai and batting. Australia, who last won a test in India in 2004, start the series on Feb. 23 with the first test in Pune, which will be followed by matches in Bangalore, Ranchi and Dharamsala.