Australia news March 30, 2015

Haddin to join Clarke in retirement

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Brad Haddin said his send-offs to New Zealand's batsmen came about because their niceness made him 'uncomfortable' © Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Australia vice-captain Brad Haddin revealed he will be joining the captain Michael Clarke in ODI retirement amidst raucous celebrations of the team's World Cup final victory over New Zealand in Melbourne.

At the same time Haddin spoke freely about the mindset that led to numerous instances of harsh behaviour towards the New Zealand players. In an interview with Triple M soon after the sun rose over Melbourne, Haddin said New Zealand's sheer niceness during their group-stage meeting in Auckland had made the more combative Australian team uncomfortable. This in itself did not seem surprising, given the high pitch of aggression they have played at since they regained the Ashes in a one-sided but occasionally fiery 2013-14 home Test series against England.

"You know what? They deserved it," Haddin said of New Zealand's batsmen being the subject of several send-offs. "They were that nice to us in New Zealand and we were that uncomfortable. I said in the team meeting: 'I can't stand for this anymore, we're going at them as hard as we can.'

"It was that uncomfortable. All they were was that nice to us for seven days. I said, 'I'm not playing cricket like this. If we get another crack at these guys in the final I'm letting everything [out].' I'm not playing another one-day game, so they can suspend me for as long as they like."

Haddin's contribution to the final did not merely take the form of boorish send-offs and encouragement to other teammates to do the same. He engaged in a rather more subtle psychological joust with Brendon McCullum in the first over of the match, encouraging New Zealand's captain to go hard at the ball in the knowledge Mitchell Starc had been honing his yorker for the occasion.

"I think I ran down the second ball, didn't I? I certainly wasn't tentative," McCullum had said. "Hadds actually asked me before the first ball, he said, 'are you still going to have a crack today', and I said, 'too right I am'."

A few hours later, Haddin led the team to the middle of the MCG for the rendition of the team song 'Under The Southern Cross', a role he has filled since taking over from Matthew Wade as the limited-overs gloveman in late 2013. It was the first of many ecstatic moments for the Cup-winning squad, who went on from the dressing rooms back to the team hotel on the south bank of the Yarra river where celebrations continued right up to and beyond the aforementioned interview.

Among the more memorable sights at a richly attended team celebration event in Melbourne's Federation Square was that of the team's ersatz captain and later perennial 12th man George Bailey, who walked onto the stage wearing the bright orange bib generally required of drinks runners.

This was perceived as a light-hearted signifier of his support role, but was in fact a good-natured riposte to the ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle, who had insisted Bailey wear the bib during the final. Preferring to be clad simply in the gold uniform of his team, Bailey had refused, but after winning the final decided it was time to don the bib.

It was an episode that showed this to be an Australian team not keen on bowing to authority, whether in the impish manner of Bailey or the more caustic ways of Haddin. His exit from ODI cricket will leave a gulf in the team, but Sunday nights' victory and Monday morning's celebrations will mean Haddin's way is taken up by other members of the team in future years.

There is also the possibility that Haddin will not be lost to the dressing room even after his Test career also runs its course. It is known that he harbours coaching ambitions for the future, and may well be fast-tracked into that career after the fashion of the current head coach, Darren Lehmann.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • PakIndaBad on April 2, 2015, 15:22 GMT

    Players sledge either because they don't like the opposition players or because they are trying to mentally disturb the batsmen. It is only needed when cricketing skills come up short and you need to make up by mental tactics. Most of the great players do not sledge. They don't need do. And send offs are signs of pure cowardliness. The fielder knows the batsman is out and he has no way to respond on the field.

  • kriketluva on April 1, 2015, 15:20 GMT

    Hope I never see either again. You aussies can keep them.

  • cloudmess on April 1, 2015, 12:37 GMT

    Australia won because they were the best team not because they were the best sledgers. The excessive nature of the latter only betrays a certain insecurity. Why does it gain you a psychological edge to give a nasty send-off to a player who's just been dismissed and who can't do you any more harm in the game? Why does it make you somehow stronger to be 11 men verbally attacking just 2? For some reason in cricket we're meant to see all of this as a sign of mental toughness. In any other scenario we'd just think it rank cowardice.

  • smudgeon on April 1, 2015, 12:31 GMT

    I really want to say something positive, but...I just can't. Maybe whomever ends up behind the stumps can help usher in a new era.

  • dummy4fb on April 1, 2015, 12:21 GMT

    Cricket would be better off without him! Good bye!

  • dummy4fb on April 1, 2015, 12:17 GMT

    "New Zealand were nice to us, so we responded by abuse" according to Haddin. Good player, but you don't need that sort of thing on a cricket field, if you're good enough. You never saw the likes of Ambrose, Garner, Holding or Roberts giving the batsman abuse as they walked off.

  • Rajesh1990 on April 1, 2015, 9:10 GMT

    I dont understand the whole thing about not sledging and no send-offs. On the ground you want to win, you do everything to win and if that involves testing another players mental fortitude by asking them questions, so be it. Off the ground if this sort of behaviour continues then there is a problem which needs to be addressed because there is no advantage to gain off the ground except being a prick, but if the purpose is to win go ahead. Haddin's legacy won't be tanished by his sledging because it proves his competitiveness and desire to win, it is possible to display this with talking on the field of play but then again we are all different and we all get our competitive juices going in a different way and whats wrong with that. My respects to you Brad Haddin from India

  • Afrikaanse_Hoer_Seunskool on April 1, 2015, 5:33 GMT

    good time to go..punchy contributions through out the world cup

  • Shaggy076 on April 1, 2015, 4:39 GMT

    IT_HAPPENED_LAST_IN_2001: I guess a lot like a Kohli, Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Graeme Smith, Kevin Pietersen, Marlon Samuels, K Pollard, Sunny Gavasker,and many more you love them on your side but when they play for the opposition there "weasel" traits annoy you. To call him an average fellow is very harsh. He annoys the opposition but he certainly isnt crass.

  • orangtan on April 1, 2015, 0:19 GMT

    Haddin and Clarke, two of the worst, here's hoping these two fall on their faces in the Ashes and disappear completely. I am sure Warner is the heir apparent for taking over as Head-Sledger although Faulkner may challenge him for that dubious honour.

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