September 2014 - Will Wade

It's not often that you meet a young man whose peers talk about with such respect but Will Wade is one such young man. And it's not like it's much of a surprise either. Composed, focused and determined to succeed; these characteristics were clear from an early age and with experience they have blossomed into a quiet confidence and an unshakeable temperament. Add to that an obvious ability and you have someone that others look up to, even playing up in a higher age group.

With expectation there comes pressure; from the knowledge that others rely on you but also from your own demands of yourself. The fear of not realising those expectations can often be crippling. Mental strength then is a huge asset and Will appears to have this in abundance; something his team-mates acknowledge openly. In his case this is combined by a calculating ruthlessness to expose an opponents weakness and capitalise on it; shrewd observations and a quick read of situations.

You'd expect a certain degree of arrogance to sit comfortably alongside these other characteristics but there's not a trace of that. Lapping up the limelight is not Will's thing and he's happy to lead by example, set the tone and score the runs to help his side win. It's a simple approach, it's very effective and it's helped him be named Wiltshire Cricket 'Cricketer of the Year' for 2014.

After making 3 centuries for the county at U15 and U17 level...ironically all against the Isle of Wight, he also made 156 (v Swindon) for South Wilts U15 in the Wilts Youth League. We caught up with Will to chat about batting, leadership and role models.

You've had a phenomenal year; let's start by looking at the County U15's and U17' do you think the two age groups went?

I believe it has been a very good season for both teams. The U15s were very unlucky not to win Division Two after beating the champions chasing down 250 while the U17s had a great season reaching the National Final. I was happy to be able to contribute with some good scores.

That's a bit of an understatement! Did you work at anything in particular over the winter?

I am strong driving through the V and I am also good at cutting and picking it up off my legs. My weakness is flashing at wide balls and also becoming stuck against very good spinners. To improve my game against spin I have become more busy at the crease and also coming down the wicket and playing the ball either on the ground or over the top.

Obviously you've worked hard at your focus as well to keep making big scores?

Yes, definitely, when I get into the thirties I watch the bowler more intensely to make sure I do not lose concentration which previously has been the downfall of my batting.

So which knock was your favourite?

Scoring 144 for the U17s against the Isle of Wight because it is the best I have felt out in the middle. Sadly it was a bad shot which I got out to

I think you can be forgiven after making 144! What are your aims looking forward to next year?

To become more consistent for the U17s and make big scores more regularly and to make good scores in the Academy to nail down my position in that team. Also, to become a better off spin bowler as I believe I have the potential to be a handy spinner.

You'd make a very handy all-rounder! You're also captain - does this come naturally to you?

I think it does but I have watched other leaders in order to be a better leader. By learning off others I believe it has helped me learn other wider aspects of the game. I think that to be a good leader you need to involve your team mates in tactical decisions to bring them into the game to keep their concentration. Also, you need to keep your plans simple as you do not want to over complicate matters which makes it confusing for the team.

Very solid advice! Do you look up to anybody in particular when it comes to captaincy or batting?

My dad (Rob Wade) and Alan Crouch have helped me the most with my captaincy skills because the two things they have taught me the most are that you should change the bowlers around frequently if they are not threatening and also they have taught me good fielding positions. My dad advises me on all aspects of the game and he has helped me progress massively over the last 8 years. I also hugely respect Joe Root because of his mental toughness as he gets England out of trouble with very big scores in very tough situations.

And he's from Yorkshire of course! Thanks for your time, good luck next year and once again congratulations on being named Wiltshire Cricket Cricketer of the Year for 2014!



Will was also very quick to acknowledge others around him who have helped with his success, not just this year but for many years. Alan Crouch, Wiltshire Cricket's Head coach was highlighted as someone Will thinks has helped him improve his game significantly over the last few years and he also wanted to thank his Mum and Dad for ferrying him around everywhere over the last six years.

It's this genuine awareness of other people, his grounded nature and his desire to succeed that marks him out as a young man with a great future. We wish him all the best for 2015 and onwards in his cricket career.