Matthew Wade sparks outpouring of tributes after major announcement on cricket career

The Tasmanian played 36 Test matches for Australia and will play one final game in Sheffield Shield.

Matthew Wade has made the difficult decision to retire from red-ball cricket, but the Aussie veteran will continue playing the shorter formats of the game. The 36-year-old announced on Friday that the Sheffield Shield final between Tasmania and Western Australia next week will be his 166th and final first-class match.

Wade is giving away the longest format of the game, but will continue to play white-ball cricket and will likely be part of Australia's squad for the T20 World Cup in June. A wicket-keeper and left-hand batter, Wade played 36 Tests for Australia, making four hundreds and 1613 runs.

Matthew Wade.
Matthew Wade is retiring from red-ball cricket. Image: Getty

He has 9183 runs at an average of 40.81 in first-class cricket, as well as 442 catches and 21 stumpings. Wade held a press conference on Friday morning after telling teammates of his decision before Tasmania's loss to South Australia in their final game of the Shield regular season earlier this week.

"Firstly, I would like to thank my family - my wife Julia, and kids Winter, Goldie, and Duke - for the sacrifices they have made throughout my career, as I travelled Australia and the world as a red-ball cricketer," Wade said. "I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenges that the long-form game provides, and although I will continue to play white ball cricket, wearing the Baggy Green while playing for my country remains a highlight of my career. I am grateful to all of my teammates throughout my career, along with Cricket Victoria for providing me with the foundations to grow as a first-class cricketer, and Cricket Tasmania for supporting me in finishing my career as a cricketer in my home state."

Cricket world reacts to Matthew Wade retirement news

Tasmania head coach Jeff Vaughan said: "I would like to personally thank and congratulate Matthew for all he has done for Tasmania and Australia in red-ball cricket, he was always professional, and never shied away from the contest. While his career with our Shield squad may be coming to an end, we look forward to still having him around our group in white ball cricket for the coming years playing for the Tigers, and in purple for the Hurricanes. We hope that we can help send him off with a win in the Sheffield Shield Final next week, and we know that he has given his all for our badge every time he played for Tasmania."

The 36-year-old recently welcomed his third child with wife Julia - a baby boy named Duke. He delayed his trip to New Zealand for the recent T20 series so he could be at the birth. The decision to retire from first-class cricket will allow Wade to spend more time at home with his young family, which includes daughters Winter and Goldie.

Wade, who was born in Hobart and now represents his home state, won four Shield titles with Victoria - including two as captain. However he hasn't tasted success with Tasmania and will be desperate to go out on a high in the Shield final against his old state next week.


Matthew Wade, pictured here in the Ashes in 2019.
Matthew Wade in the Ashes in 2019.

His Test career spanned from 2012 to 2021, and he was recalled as a specialist batter for the Ashes in 2019 even after losing his wicketkeeping spot to fellow Tasmanian Tim Paine. His first-class career has included stints with English club Warwickshire in County Cricket. He has developed into one of the finest finishers in the shorter formats in recent years, and posted a match-winning knock in the T20 World Cup semi-final in 2021 amid Australia's run to the trophy.

Matthew Wade skipping start of IPL for Sheffield Shield season

Wade is also skipping the start of the IPL season to play in the Sheffield Shield final. Wade is contracted with the Gujarat Titans in the IPL and their first match is on March 24 against the Mumbai Indians.

But instead of suiting up for the start of the lucrative T20 tournament, the 36-year-old will be in Perth lining up for Tasmania at the WACA. It's unlikely Wade will be available for the Titans' second match on March 26, unless the Shield final wraps up early.

with AAP