Haddin forewarned of his omission
Brad Haddin knew this was coming. Given the reputation for clear communication the national selection panel has developed among Australia's players over the past year, how could he not?
Though the national selector John Inverarity waited until the formal announcement of the team for the first Test of the home summer to confirm their decision to choose Matthew Wade as Australia's wicketkeeper, Haddin had been aware for some time before which way the breeze was likely to blow.
This was in keeping with the ways of Inverarity's panel. Australia's cricketers are now far better informed about where they stand, and the lack of irritation or frustration in Haddin's voice on his return to Australia was proof of that.
It helped that he had the Twenty20 Champions League trophy in tow, having demonstrated a hunger undiminished in taking the Sydney Sixers to the title. That desire will now carry Haddin into the domestic summer with New South Wales, where he will act as a mentor for the Blues while also remaining on call as Wade's back-up.
"In all honesty I think this decision was made a long time ago so I was pretty content where everything was at. I don't think it was made overnight. I think this decision was made to go this direction a long time ago," Haddin said. "I'd been around cricket long enough to know which direction things were going. My job is to get back to NSW and like everyone else enjoy Australia regaining the number one Test ranking in the world.
"Now it's just about going back and performing. I'm here if they need me, they know that. From that point of view its about performing for NSW. [Team performance manager] Pat Howard has been good through this whole process during the last six months. I've known exactly where I stand, from my point of view it's just making sure my game keeps improving and going in the direction that it is at the moment."
Wade and Haddin have been frequent training partners over the past 18 months, and Haddin offered no ill will towards the younger man, who has surpassed him as Australia's first choice gloveman in each of the three formats, one at a time.
"He deserves his opportunity and he's played well since he's come into the Australian team," Haddin said. "I wish all the boys luck. It's going to be a massive series against South Africa. With a bit of luck the result at the end of it is number one in the world.
"I get on well with most players I've played with so from that point of view Matt knows I'm there if he needs any advice. I've been watching his game over the last 12 months and he's just going from strength to strength so from that point of view Australia are in safe hands."
Safe hands are what Haddin will now apply to NSW, helping the Blues go on from a promising start to the season before the CLT20 hiatus. After the travails in NSW last summer, Haddin's consistent presence in the team will be a significant help to the captain Steve O'Keefe and a bevy of tyros.
"You can see the way the Sixers performed over the last couple of weeks and during the Big Bash, you need that mix," Haddin said. "We've got a group at the moment who needs that bit of leadership and a few older guys around."
One of Haddin's most significant gains over the past six months has been the return of his best batting touch, resulting from adjustments he was able to make following the healing of an elbow injury that restricted him at times last summer.
"I think my batting is back to where it was two years ago. I've ironed a few things out which I'm pretty happy with," he said. "I'm enjoying my cricket at the moment. I'm actually enjoying being back playing. From that point of view life goes on ... I just hope to continue to improve as a cricketer."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here