New addition to the Cancer afflicted cricketers' list, as there is another story about a cricket player who is driven by fierce self belief in order to battle the dreaded disease. Everyone in the Aussie team admit that this talented wicket-keeper's life is an inspiration to many, while his self belief has helped him reach this level after battling cancer at the age of 16. This is a story of one of the top performers' of the Australian team, Matthew Wade, who has been an important player in the Aussie squad recently.
The 24 year old wicket-keeper batsman, has revealed that, he was battling cancer when he got it checked after suffering from pain during a game of football, while he was away for a school camp. Reports suggested that he had testicular cancer.
''I went in and got it checked and the doctor basically said if I hadn't been hit in the testicle, maybe I would never have known the tumour was there, so I was pretty lucky I got hit in the nuts and got it checked,'' said the Aussie cricketer who has been in top form after choosing cricket ahead of football.
At the age of 16, when he got to know that he had testicular cancer and chemotherapy was essential, it probably didn't strike the chord, as he thought an operation would help him get back to normalcy.
He further says that he was pretty lucky to have known it earlier, which also helped him to recover completely.
Qualities such as self belief, confidence, determination transformed Wade to overcome two cycles of chemotherapy which knocked him in ways he hadn't expected, says his team mates.
He further said, those days were very crucial for him as he floated through that point and had started apprenticeship as he felt professional sport was out of question.
When he was in a dilemma to choose cricket or football, as it resolved itself. With his grade and under 19 efforts, earned him a contract with Tasmania and he started thinking about the goal.
''I still tried to train between cycles [of chemo], but it was too hard to do it at the intensity I wanted so I let it take a back seat. I remember batting out here [on Bellerive Oval] two or three months later in an under-19s game. I wanted to keep playing, I just never thought I would play at the highest level. I just thought I'd play first-grade cricket and footy, do my apprenticeship, and that would be me,'' Wade told the Saturday Age.
At 19, he moved to Victoria due to lack of opportunities as he was behind Tim Paine in the queue to get a chance to showcase his skills. Though he got a chance to play, he had to fight.
During this period there were three wicket keepers for Australia, Adam Gilchrist followed by Brad Haddin as Wade was only looking at playing first class games, and worked on his glovework from scratch.
'My decision was bigger picture. I had the opportunity to stay in Tasmania and try to pursue a career as a batter in the middle order somewhere, but I decided, at my age and the way things were going in Australian cricket, I had to look at the big picture. I'm not going to sit here and say I made the decision based on playing for Australia, but I didn't want to look back and wish I'd had a crack.''
Earlier this week, Cricket Australia chief John Inverarity confirmed that Wade has replaced Haddin as Australia's first-choice gloveman and that the intention was to take both of them on the Test tour of Carribean.
His participation in the ODI series and current performance also shows that he has been given more chances than the veteran wicket-keeper as they are looking at the future and at 2015 World Cup.
I'm concentrating on this [one-day] series, game to game, but if I got the chance to go to the West Indies, hopefully the selectors take me and Brad, it would be awesome. Hopefully I can play a few one-day games over there, a few Twenty20s, then just get a feel for what goes into a big tour like that,'' Wade said.
His elevation from starting first-class cricket and to play the game at the highest level suggests that everyone with a little bit of courage, confidence and self-belief, individuals can become tough and achieve a lot more in life.