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England were 'petrified' of Johnson - Haddin

Brydon Coverdale

August 15, 2014

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Brad Haddin claimed another catch off Mitchell Johnson's bowling, Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane, 4th day, November 24, 2013
Brad Haddin hopes to still be catching edges off Mitchell Johnson this time next year © Getty Images
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Brad Haddin has set himself the goal of returning to England for the 2015 Ashes after the joy of regaining the urn last summer in a series he believes showed England were "petrified" of Mitchell Johnson. Haddin said in November the 2013-14 series would be "my last crack at an Ashes campaign", but team and personal success over the summer has left him desiring more.

Although Haddin turns 37 in October, he says a busy off-season of training has ensured he is at peak fitness with a World Cup and Ashes tour looming over the coming year. And although there are several solid wicketkeeping performers at domestic level - he identified Sam Whiteman and Peter Nevill as two stand-outs - none have done enough yet to oust Haddin from the side.

As Australia completed their clean-sweep of England over the home summer, Haddin not only rescued the side with the bat in every first innings of the series, his glovework was generally efficient and his footwork nimble. A strong case could have been made for him being Player of the Series but that award went to Johnson, whose season Haddin viewed from prime position behind the stumps.

"Mitch's summer was something out of the box," Haddin told ABC Radio this week. "I think the one thing is, and Mitch realises it as well, he can't do his job if Rhino [Ryan Harris] or Peter [Siddle] or Lyno [Nathan Lyon] are not doing their job. They bowled really well together as a group.

"Mitch got a lot of the rewards for that because, to be perfectly honest, they were petrified of facing him. We can gloss over it ... but I think that was an exciting thing about last summer, the pace Mitch bowled. But the other guys did an enormous job to support the group. And our slippers caught well."

The series provided the first taste of Ashes success for Haddin and most of his team-mates, and many of the same men will be in England to defend the urn next year. Haddin hopes to be among them, although for the time being he is focusing on the more immediate contests in Zimbabwe and the UAE.

"I do enjoy playing against England, I won't lie about that. There's obviously a goal there," he said. "I know it's a big cliché ... but I'm just worried about the small steps in front of us at the moment. We've got a big series in the UAE, we've got India here, we've got a World Cup campaign.

"So it's important not to think too far ahead to thinking about those events and miss the excitement about playing now. I have got the World Cup and Ashes in my mind, but I'm preparing to play these other tournaments to keep moving Australian cricket in that direction we want to go."

To that end, Haddin has spent the winter working on his fitness with his friend Tom Carter, the former rugby union player. "I'm still in front of all the young guys on the training paddock," Haddin said. He is certainly still at the front of the wicketkeeping queue while others such as Matthew Wade, currently playing for Australia A as a specialist batsman, appear to have dropped back.

"I'm 36 and I'm still playing. There's obviously some candidates there," Haddin said. "I've seen young Sam Whiteman come on, who I think is going to be a pretty good talent, and Peter Nevill at New South Wales, I think is a very, very good gloveman as well.

"I'm all about picking the next best wicketkeeper. I think that's what Australia have traditionally done and that's what I encourage all the keepers behind me, to be the best wicketkeeper they can be."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

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Posted by Shaggy076 on (August 22, 2014, 5:39 GMT)

Ian Jones; Im just wondering how the last series would have went if we had less weaknesses. COmpared to our team in the 2000's its not as good but its comfortably too good for any other international side (except South Africa as that is a pretty good contest). People have been saying for 8 straight tests now that Johnson is one wayward spell away fro becoming a rabble, those same people jumped on a wayward spell at the MCG and declared him finished before he returned and again demolished England. Last 8 tests Rogers and Smith have each scored 3 centuries, Warner 5, Marsh 1, Watson 2 suddenly those batting holes are disappearing. THen Lyon record is as good as any other slow bowler away from subcontnental wickets. His stats in Australia are superior to the likes of Ashwin, Swann and Muralitharan. As for the over 35's, with cricket age doesn't really matter and that will only be a problem in anther 3-4 years.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2014, 15:23 GMT)

@Ian Jones. Australia rely on Clarke and Haddin batting? Have you actually watched any cricket lately as Warner smashed over 500 runs in 3 tests in SA against the best attack in the world and Smith and Rogers have also been making hundreds. I'd be more worried about your shambolic team with even more of a shambolic captain! As let's face it if it had of been a normal 3 test series then England would not have won the series and everyone would still be asking for Cooks head. I'm very happy with the media hyping up your team and I'm sure the Aussie team are too as means once Mitch puts the pressure on again you'll collapse like a pack of cards.

Posted by Short-Arm-Jab on (August 20, 2014, 4:07 GMT)

@eddiehemmingswobble "Trouble is that there pitches are traditionally much slower and far more conducive to swing, meaning Mitchell Johnson will have a lesser impact." I think you're forgetting Johnson's 7/40 at Adelaide in the last Ashes. The wicket was slow and Johnson wasn't getting any swing but extreme pace out of the hand is pace no matter which wicket you're bowling. I think English wickets wont naturally suit Johnson but the fact that he is fast and slingy, he will still have the Englishmen quivering in their boots facing up to him and it will only take a vicious bouncer or two for the wounds of 13/14 to open back up.

Posted by eddiehemmingswobble on (August 19, 2014, 11:55 GMT)

Watching Darren Lehman in recent days challenging England to produce fast bouncy wickets ? I'm sure he would love the English to go out of there way and produce fast bouncy pitches. Trouble is that there pitches are traditionally much slower and far more conducive to swing, meaning Mitchell Johnson will have a lesser impact. In fact if he gets injured then this growing English team should win back the Ashes, as I can't see anything in our bowling line up to trouble there developing batting line up in English conditions. I have watched there recent series against India and they are definitely rebuilding in the right direction and seem to have found a very handy all rounder in Moeen Ali who turns the ball and deceives batsmen with his spin.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2014, 11:01 GMT)

I'm seeing huge weaknesses in this Aussies team. The batting is too reliant on Clarke and Haddin, the bowling far too reliant on Johnston. All it takes is 1 bad spell and Johnston will go back to the 2010/11 version. And there is no spinner. There are also far too many players in the team over 35 years old.

Posted by Sexysteven on (August 17, 2014, 7:29 GMT)

If England are scared of facing Johnson then they are beaten before they start if they want to be competitive they have embrace facing one of the fastest bowlers around cos he can go for runs if you can keep out his good balls relish the challenge of getting on top of Johnson if they can do that they should be able to get on top of the other bowlers to and score runs yes I think Sam whiteman should be groomed to be the next keeper once Haddin retires he's very talented

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (August 16, 2014, 12:35 GMT)

@Dunger.bob: Couldn't have said it any better myself. I look at Steyn's stats and say 'wow, he is a great bowler.' But every time i have seen him face Australia he has been very mediocre expect two spells of the top of my head. One in 2008 and the reverse swinging spell in PE this year. Other than that, average.

Posted by dunger.bob on (August 16, 2014, 1:50 GMT)

@ wapuser: re Steyn. He doesn't look all that effective in Australia. Ok, but not the game breaker everyone says he is. That's a variable isn't it?

Posted by   on (August 15, 2014, 23:41 GMT)

Yes, Wade is good with the bat but his keeping let him down, and it hasn't really improved since. That's why he's playing for Aus A as a batsman, but not sure he's up at the top of the list on his batting alone. Paine has the opposite problem, his keeping is good but he still has only one first class century to his name. That's why they're looking past those two now to Neville and Whiteman.

Posted by Beertjie on (August 15, 2014, 21:26 GMT)

Glad to see Hadds hanging around even if it's only till the Ashes. But a few younger guys need to be on that Ashes tour: Whiteman, Starc, Pattinson, O'Keefe, Lynn to name just the more obvious candidates.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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