Matthew Wade offers grim reality check for Steve Smith amid T20 World Cup hopes

The Australian wicketkeeper-batsman believes Steve Smith may miss out on a T20 World Cup spot.

Pictured Matthew Wade left and Steve Smith right

Matthew Wade believes Matt Short has done enough to warrant selection for the upcoming T20 World Cup but fears veteran Steve Smith may miss out altogether. Australia were dominant in their home T20 series against the West Indies and equally so against trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand.

More than 20 players have represented Australia in T20 cricket since November, however, there are only 15 spots up for grabs for the T20 World Cup in June. While the Australian wicketkeeper-batsman says he doesn't envy the selectors' decision, he believes Short has earned his place in the side after being awarded player of the match in Australia's final T20 against New Zealand in Auckland on Sunday.

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"It's going to be tight for those last few spots. I don't envy George's position. I wouldn't want to be picking the 15," Wade said. "We know he (Short) can come in and play a really high-impact role for us, and his offspin is going to help as well. He'll be pushing for a spot in the 15."

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 25: Spencer Johnson and Matt Short of Australia celebrate Spencer Johnson taking the wicket of Tim Seifert of New Zealand during game three of the Men's T20 International series between New Zealand and Australia at Eden Park on February 25, 2024 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

The emergence of Short could spell trouble for Smith, who failed in both outings in New Zealand. Short offers versatility across the batting order and also is a spin option that could prove beneficial on Caribbean pitches expected to turn.

"Smitty hasn't played a heap of T20 cricket in the last little bit for Australia," Wade said of Smith. "Fingers crossed he makes it but there's there's always going to be someone that's unlucky."

Matthew Wade backs in Nathan Ellis and Spencer Johnson

Wade believes Spencer Johnson and Nathan Ellis are also pushing for a spot in the T20 World Cup side, potentially even ahead of the 'big three' of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. Ellis played in the second and third games of the New Zealand series and showed his speciality in the shorter format of the game taking 2-16 from three overs in the second game, and 0-11 off two overs in the third. The figures are made even more impressive by the fact that Eden Park is a notoriously batter-friendly wicket.

Johnson only played in the third game of the series but was also very economical, taking 1-10 off two overs. The pair's ability to restrict runs was a stark contrast to what Cummins, Hazlewood and Starc have been producing in the last couple of months.

The 'big three' were in action as Australia became the first team in T20 internationals to concede totals over 200 in four straight matches. The West Indies made 202, 207 and 220 in their three-game series and New Zealand also managed 215 in the first game of the following series, where the three paceman played.

Wade says Ellis or Johnson are both T20 specialists and they could snag a spot in the starting eleven ahead of one or more of the established trio. "Spence (Spencer Johnson) has played a couple of games now and ticked every box," Wade said on Monday. "Then you've got guys like Nathan (Ellis) who come in and every time he gets an opportunity, he does really, really well. It's going to be tight for those last few spots ... but we're happy that we've got so much depth."

with AAP

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