Matthew Wade to lead Australia on New Zealand cricket tour

Melbourne, Jan 27 (IANS) Cricket Australia (CA) has announced that Matthew Wade will captain Australia on its tour of New Zealand.

Wade’s appointment as Australia’s 24th One-Day International (ODI) captain follows the ankle injury sustained by Steve Smith during the side’s 57-run win against Pakistan in the fifth and final ODI at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday, reports cricket.com.au.

With Smith absent for the ODI series against New Zealand that features matches in Auckland (30 January), Napier (2 February) and Hamilton (5 February), the selectors have called up 21-year-old Queensland batsman Sam Heazlett as a replacement for Smith in New Zealand.

CA Interim Selector Trevor Hohns said: “We had a few options as captain in the absence of Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner, but Matthew Wade was the logical option given his leadership experience with Victoria and the fact he is very much a leader within the group already.”

“With Steve not fit to play we have taken the opportunity to introduce another exciting young player to the Australian team environment and international cricket by including Sam Heazlett.”

Wade said: “Being asked to captain Australia is obviously not something I was expecting and it is still sinking in, but I am hugely honoured by the decision of the selectors and the Board of Directors and very excited about it.”

Wade and his team-mates who took part in the Adelaide ODI are due to arrive in Auckland on Friday.

Steve Smith has injured his left ankle and is likely to be sidelined for 7-10 days, the team’s sport science and sports medicine manager Alex Kountouris said:

“Steve injured his left ankle in the fielding innings of last night’s ODI. He came off the field and had his ankle strapped and was able to return to the field for the remainder of the match,” said Kountouris.

“Following further assessment this morning, we believe Steve has sustained a medial ligament injury to his ankle. He will return to Sydney today to undergo scans to confirm the diagnosis.”

“Early indications suggest this will likely take 7-10 days to recover, meaning Steve will be unable to participating in the Qantas Tour of New Zealand,” he added.

–IANS

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