Australia news March 30, 2015

Haddin to join Clarke in retirement

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