India in Australia 2011-12 January 10, 2012

Haddin should focus on his keeping - Zaheer

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It has taken two Tests, but it has begun. Perhaps it's got to do with the time the cricketers got off their cricketing routines. India and Australia have resumed their verbal sparring. It began with Brad Haddin saying on a radio show that India are mentally fragile, and that when put under pressure, they "turn on each other". Zaheer Khan has responded by telling Haddin to mind his own game, which according to him is fragile.

Suppressing his laughter, Zaheer said, "Brad Haddin should focus on his keeping. That looks really fragile to me. He needs to start moving." Zaheer was alluding to the three catches Haddin dropped in the first two Tests. Zaheer went a step further. He said that Haddin seemed to be the designated big mouth of the Australian team.

Zaheer was asked if the two teams were now breaking the sort of unwritten pact of mutual respect they have been following, especially keeping in mind the bitterness on India's last tour here. "I think by the sound of it Haddin has been appointed for that in the Australian team," Zaheer said of the possible mind games coming from the Australian camp.

Zaheer was also asked if Haddin was lucky to be in the Australian side after the ordinary show in the first two Tests. "He is doing all the talk," Zaheer said. "So he is definitely playing his role."

Peter Siddle chose to steer clear of the controversy, but was forced to say a line or two when almost all the questions in his press conference revolved around Zaheer and Haddin. "[It is] just a lead-up to the Test," Siddle said. "The pressure that we have been building as bowling partnerships, and a bowling unit is what has been working for us, that's what is putting the pressure on. Whether you call it intimidation, whether it's just good team bowling, whatever you think, but that's what Bradley was getting at. The pressure we have been building without bowling."

Siddle said he had no idea why Haddin said what he said, and that he has not spoken to Haddin about it. Siddle, though, said there was no designated big mouth in the side. "There is no appointment," he said. "These things come out. Zaheer is saying he should concentrate on his keeping. I wouldn't like to see how good a tip Zaheer can give him on his keeping. I don't think it's his place to say that either. Just a part of the game. Zaheer is going all right at the moment, so he likes to say those things.

"I think we are all nice and friendly guys in the field. We are all nice to our opposition. That's how we play our cricket. That's obviously it. Brad's a very competitive cricketer. He does like to play it hard and fair. Me and Jimmy [James Pattinson] like to bowl our bouncers, stuff like that."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • AidanFX on January 11, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    Zaheer is pretty much hopeless once the shine goes off the new ball - he tries very hard first spell - and then the subsequent spells he ambles in and doesn't even try hard.

  • Mayan820 on January 11, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    Yes, Si Baker, I must admit that I was quite pleased with England's demolition job of the Ausies during the last Ashes, but it was obviously still not nearly enough, because their supporters are as arrogant as ever before. Someone much DEADLIER than England have to have a go at them and my money is still on Pakistan to finish them off in their own country in such a way that they and/or their supporters will be silent for the next decade or so. The Pakistanis would have done it before already, was it not for their erratic batting performances, but the latter has improved remarkably under their new captain who has a very cool head on his shoulders. After Pakistan has finished their work, the Proteas can have another go at them to see if they can perhaps improve on that 47 all out.

  • wclplayer on January 11, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    @Praxis: If that is true Haddin should also worry about his keeping batting woos instead of worrying about the other teams performance

  • Praxis on January 11, 2012, 9:57 GMT

    Andrew Hughes wrote on the last post of 'The long handle' that... "No, the Indian players shouldn't worry too much about the fact that an Australian called Brad is saying these things; they should worry about the fact that he's right."

  • karthikfromchennai on January 11, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    for india it was andhaman...for europe it was australia

  • karthikfromchennai on January 11, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    the origin of aussies is no secret...the ones sent to prisons in by british in olden days

  • dummy4fb on January 11, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    zaheer and haddin seem to have similar personalities in the arrogant way they go about their celebrations (especially in this series), but on this occasion zaheer has hit the nail on the head. haddin's game is falling apart and he needs to go - goading the opposition in his current form, especially when the opposition is down, is poor at best

  • dummy4fb on January 11, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    CORRECTION: the 10/11 Ashes.

  • Okakaboka on January 11, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    @RanydOz....I think ANYONE who criticizes Haddin is spot on! Keep up your good work! To all Indian fans out there.....95% of us Australian fans think Haddin is a hack and we don't want him in our team. He makes our bowlers too potty mouthed. It's not their fault...how would you like to see all your hard work spilt all over the cricket field?

  • Rawlonski on January 11, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    Why do people get so upset about hearing the truth. You would have to be a die hard Indian Cricket fan to argue that the Indian team did not lose it a bit and get down during the last test (and the English tour for that matter), but at the same time, it is not a bright man that says stupid things to the press and gives what is an out of form but skillful team a huge dose of motivation.

    More time with the fielding drills and less time with the press is a stong recommendation for Haddin..... and Zaheer!

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