Hartley replaces injured Haddin in Pakistan
Chris Hartley received a double dose of good news today when he was called up for the Australia A squad in Pakistan and Wade Seccombe, the Queensland wicketkeeper, announced his retirement. Knowing that timing is everything for a gloveman, Hartley will replace Brad Haddin, who broke a finger during the drawn match against Pakistan A this week, and return as the Bulls' first-choice for the summer.
Alex Kontouri, the team physiotherapist, said Haddin, Adam Gilchrist's understudy, suffered a clean break and is expected to miss the next six weeks. Hartley, the 23-year-old who has played six first-class games, departs for Pakistan tonight for the tour's three one-day match series, which starts at Lahore on Friday.
Seccombe retired this morning as Queensland's leading gloveman in first-class and one-day games, ahead of greats such as Ian Healy, Wally Grout and Don Tallon. Unable to satisfy his training and playing demands, Seccombe said his passion had gone after 13 summers.
"I gave myself the off-season and the pre-season to see how I was going and then I played our intra-squad matches in Rockhampton,'' he said. "I still love playing but I knew that the commitment I usually felt towards my preparation was lacking and I didn't want to cruise along and know that I wasn't challenging myself."
Seccombe, 33, said it was "the right time" to walk away, but unfortunately his final act in first-class cricket was to drop a chance low to his right off Nathan Bracken in the Pura Cup final last season. Two runs later New South Wales secured the trophy.
Damien Mullins, the Queensland Cricket chairman, said Seccombe was a wonderful performer for Queensland and his integrity, work ethic, professionalism and spirit exemplified "the Bulls' culture". "He will be sadly missed but the door will always be open for him to be involved in whatever capacity he chooses,'' Mullins said.
Seccombe was part of the 2001 Ashes tour and was also picked for the trip to Sri Lanka in 2004, but like Darren Berry, the long-term Victoria keeper, he never played a Test. He appeared in 115 first-class games, collected 537 dismissals, including 516 catches and 21 stumpings, and played in all five of Queensland's Pura Cup and Sheffield Shield victories.