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Aussies consider Wade for No6 role
Greg Buckle and Justin Chadwick
19:18 AEST Wed Jan 30 2013

Australia are considering promoting wicketkeeper Matthew Wade to the pivotal No.6 role as their response to the exit of Test great Mike Hussey.

Cricket Australia's chairman of selectors John Inverarity will name a squad on Thursday in Perth for the upcoming four-Test tour of India.

Coach and selector Mickey Arthur wants a seam-bowling allrounder and a spin-bowling allrounder in the squad, especially with paceman and vice-captain Shane Watson battling injuries and planning to play as a batsman-only.

Arthur concedes Hussey's retirement earlier this month has left a gaping hole in Australia's batting stocks.

The promotion of Wade (with a Test average of 42.50 compared to Hussey's 51.52) with a bowling allrounder at No.7 would be a risk in a top six that includes Ed Cowan whose career mark is under 33.00.

"We will have the option of slotting Wade up to six and playing a spinning allrounder or seaming allrounder," Arthur says.

"Those are things we've got to weigh up."

Arthur says the 24-year-old Maxwell is getting good shape on the ball and shows constant improvement.

"We sat down with him and said 'if you want to be the spinning allrounder, you've got to put a huge amount of time into your bowling'," Arthur said.

"'Maxie' would always try to bowl the miracle ball. He'd bowl a leggie and then a doosra.

"He just didn't settle on anything. All we've got (him doing) in the nets is just bowling offspin, offspin, offspin.

"It's repetition all the time and he's getting better and better at it. He's a very fast learner."

The uncapped Maxwell would be one of several possible back-up options for frontline spinner Nathan Lyon, with Xavier Doherty also pushing for a berth in the squad.

Fit-again paceman James Pattinson and fellow quick Jackson Bird, who claimed 11 wickets at 16.18 in his debut Test series against Sri Lanka, are also likely selections along with uncapped seam-bowling allrounder Moises Henriques.

Left-arm quicks Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc both scored Test half-centuries this summer and Johnson says Australia have full confidence in their tail's ability to wag.

This could be crucial with only five specialist batsmen plus Wade at No.6, followed by a bowling allrounder and four more bowlers.

"We've got a good tail. We can put on 100 runs towards the end of the innings," said Johnson, who boasts seven fifties and one century in 50 Tests.

Another concern for Australia's selectors is the need to split the Test squad in two, with the advance party departing on February 7.

The need to field an eleven for a warm-up game in Chennai on February 12 means only a handful of Test-squad members can be kept back to play against West Indies in one-day games on February 8 and 10 in Sydney and Melbourne.

Test No.3 Phil Hughes is among the players who'll skip the end of the one-day series, according to a Fairfax Media report.