Australia news September 2, 2009

Haddin targets India comeback

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Brad Haddin has revealed that the finger broken during the Ashes series was worse than originally thought, and has forced him to push back his comeback date to Australia's one-day tour of India. Surgeons inserted two plates and five screws into Haddin's left ring finger during a two-and-a-half hour operation last Thursday, with the ensuing recovery period expected to extend beyond Australia's one-day series in England and the Champions Trophy in South Africa.

Haddin broke the finger moments after the coin toss before the third Test at Edgbaston, forcing Australia's team management to draft in Graham Manou at short notice. Australia's senior wicketkeeper recovered to play the final two Tests of the Ashes series with the assistance of pain-killing injections, but was ordered home ahead of the limited-overs series in England for further scans.

Those revealed significantly more damage to the top of Haddin's finger than initially thought, and prompted a revision of his likely comeback date. Haddin had originally hoped to return in time for the Champions Trophy, but is now targetting the seven-match limited-overs series against India, which will begin in Jaipur on October 25.

"The surgery was a success from the point of view that the surgeon got everything back in the place it should be, but he also said that it will probably take a little bit longer than we first thought with the rehab," Haddin told Cricinfo's Switch Hit podcast. "There was a bit more damage in there than they first thought going in. It's going to be a long road back. By the time I come back it should be 100% this time.

"I'll be definitely back for the first Test of the Australian summer and I'm hoping to be right for the seven one-dayers in India. I've just got a week or so until the stitches come out and then I'll know a bit more about how the joint is and how I respond to some treatment. In the past when I've broken fingers my joints have come back into working order pretty quickly."

Haddin only entered the Test arena after Adam Gilchrist's retirement, but has already suffered two broken fingers in the line of duty. The first came in the opening session of his debut Test at Sabina Park last year, and resulted in him handing over the gloves to Luke Ronchi for the ensuing one-day series against West Indies. The latest injury has opened the door for Tasmania's Tim Paine, and Haddin admitted his annoyance at the prospect of another extended stint on the sidelines.

"It's extremely frustrating," he said. "We've played a lot of Test cricket over the last 12 months and I was really looking forward to playing some one-day cricket. I've been happy with the way things have been going in my one-day game. But those are the breaks of the job we do. I can't whinge about it too much. I've just got to get on with the rehab and make sure when I come back that it doesn't happen again."

Haddin conceded the broken finger had caused him significant discomfort during the second half of the Ashes series, though not nearly as much as the pain of defeat at The Oval. "Once you pass yourself fit and step on the field, broken fingers all go out the window," he said. "It was an uncomfortable time. The wicketkeeping was okay. The biggest problem was with the bat because you couldn't have any protection on it because it didn't fit in the glove.

"It was obviously disappointing to go out there and lose the Ashes especially when you sit back and take the emotion out of it and look at the stats of some of our guys throughout series. I think from a statistical point of view we were way in front of England but we let ourselves down in a couple of big moments. We're not far away. We've just got to be a bit more consistent and recognise those big moments in the game a bit better."

Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo

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