Australia in South Africa 2011-12 November 17, 2011

Healy says Haddin's keeping is "substandard"

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Brad Haddin has been under fire for his batting on the tour of South Africa but now Ian Healy, the former Australia wicketkeeper, has delivered a stinging attack on Haddin's glovework. Healy said Haddin's work behind the stumps had been "substandard" in Sri Lanka and South Africa, although he said he believed Haddin was still the best man for Australia's wicketkeeping position.

The criticism will come as a surprise to Haddin, who earlier this week said he was very happy with his keeping and that it had "felt good for a while now". On the first day at the Wanderers, Haddin let through two sets of four byes, although both were difficult takes that required him to dive down the leg side off the fast bowling of Pat Cummins.

"I think his [Haddin's] performances have been substandard and not good enough in the last two tours," Healy told the Sydney Morning Herald. "He's definitely under pressure but I'm comfortable with the pressure he is under because I think he should be feeling that. I think he is the No.1 in the country to do the job but for some reason it's not coming out in his play.

"His footwork, sharpness and crispness are nowhere near what an Australia wicketkeeper's should be and that really surprised me. I was disappointed to see his form in Sri Lanka when he had [former wicketkeepers] Steve Rixon and Tim Nielsen both over there. His form looked very lethargic, and that happens because of one of two things: you're nervous or you're lazy. Only those closest to the arena would know which one it is."

Haddin did himself no favours with his strokeplay during the first Test in Cape Town, where in both innings he flashed irresponsibly outside off and edged, to gully on the first day and to the wicketkeeper on the second. His choice to back away and slash hard in the second innings when Australia were 18 for 5 was especially reckless from a senior player.

The Victoria wicketkeeper Matthew Wade brought up another century in a one-day game on Wednesday and has continued to push his case to take over from Haddin, while Tasmania's Tim Paine remains injured. However, Healy said there was no "automatic apparent" to replace Haddin, who he believed should remain in the Test side in the immediate future.

"He's got to work out immediately why his form with the gloves is down and find the remedy and get it going. I still think he's the No.1 in the country but we don't tolerate underperformance for very long. It's all about performance. If anyone in that team right now is underperforming they're under the gun. Australian cricket has to get back to a performance culture."

At training on Wednesday, Haddin spent plenty of time in the middle working on his glovework and chatting to John Inverarity, the new national selector. Inverarity's panel will soon need to choose a squad to take on New Zealand in the upcoming two-Test series, which begins on December 1.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Blackbreath666 on November 19, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    Ideal line-up wld be Watson,Hughes,Ponting,S.Marsh/U.Khawaja,Clarke,Mike Hussey,Haddin or Wade,Harris,Johnson or Bollinger,Lyon,Cummins

  • bobmartin on November 19, 2011, 21:27 GMT

    Healy says "His form looked very lethargic, and that happens because of one of two things: you're nervous or you're lazy. Only those closest to the arena would know which one it is."

    One other thing he might have mentioned is that maybe Haddin just isn't very good. Some batsmen can become good keepers, but others will never be anything other than just above average. Unfortunately if you are not on top of your game with the gloves and don't perform with the bat, in the modern game you are a liability.

  • dummy4fb on November 19, 2011, 12:17 GMT

    I think Australia need to give Ponting one final chance but put him at number 3 as this is where he has scored most of his runs. I felt moving Kawaja at number 3 for this current test was suprising and felt should of batted at number 6. Australia do need to work out what role Watson is to have in the team as he cant open the batting and bowl 10-15 overs a day in a test. I think Michael Clarke should be batting at 5 and Hussey at 4 and Marsh should open the batting with Katitch or Warner. Haddins keeping hasnt been the best but never was and I think Australia need to look at bringing in a possible replacement in the next 18 months. Johnson is unreliable and isnt getting the control of the wickets to warrant his place in the side. Its nice he scores 38 runs but his main job is to take wickets and he's not doing that.My team would be...

    Marsh Warner/Katich Ponting Hussey Clarke(c) Watson Haddin (Wkt) for the time being Harris Siddle Cummings Lyon

  • Meety on November 19, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    @MenFromMarts - Gilchrest's WICKET KEEPING was very average. He was a great Keeper/BATSMAN. My reference to Healy was purely keeping, by allround I meant up to the stumps & back to the quicks. Obviously when batting is factored in Gilly was miles ahead! @TheLoneStranger - its an interesting story for what wasn't said. Healy said Haddin is the best man for the job, so where is Paine & Wade & co in his thinking? Who would be Haddin's replacement should he retire? I'd rather hear him speak about these things than bag Haddin. @diteras - Bairstow & Davies whoevers, wouldn't even make into our state teams as keeper batsmen. Our keeping standards are way better than you think. Some states may take them on as a batsmen, but that is it!

  • diteras on November 19, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    substandard but still the best man for the job? Really? Well England seem to be replete with wicket keeper batsmen at the moment - maybe we could lend you one to put you on for a year - Bairstow or Davies?

  • Dismayed on November 19, 2011, 5:51 GMT

    Time for complete overhaul of the side. Keeper must be changed, Ponting must retire.Watson should drop down the order S.Marsh should be made to play domestically for lengthy period to prove fitness.Warner should play all forms and given an extended opportunity. Pick 5 batsmen, 2 allrounders a keeper and 3 bowlers.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on November 18, 2011, 17:21 GMT

    This A Team squad that has been picked by the new selection board shows their thinking. I hope. Matthew Wade to play at Brisbane in the First Test against NZ. Haddin has gone at 34 and the lesson should be learnt by the selection that waited til Gilchrist was 28 before getting rid of some bloke called Healy. Who also was past his sell by date by then. I think Mr Inverarity is preparing for a conversation with Ponting as well. Hopefully he'll be given the nod and be offered the chance to retire rather than be dropped. Either way i dont think he'll play at Brisbane either.

  • TheLoneStranger on November 18, 2011, 13:39 GMT

    I think Healy's comments are off the mark. He can't have his cake and eat it too. If Haddin's keeping has been that bad, then Healy should be advocating his replacement as soon as possible. However, what a waste of time and money flying Warner over, then not playing him. Ponting, picked yet again because he's "one of the boys", was an abject failure yet again. Warner should have replaced him for this test. More fools the selectors!

  • Aussierise on November 18, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    The big question selectors have simply got to ask is.....Will Haddin be the keeper for ASHES 2013? I would say almost certainly not so time for him to retire after New Zealand/India summer so that Paine or Wade have 12-18 months in the job before ASHES. Personally I would love to see them throw Hartley the gloves...I think he is superfit and solid....plus a left hander for mix up. I would also like to see aussies role dice with punter....he is almost done and dusted so why not role the dice aka justing langer and let him open the batting as a final opportunity to prove any worth. An opening partnership of Punter and Marsh would not be the worst....as it would allow watson to drop to 4 or 5. Clarke as captain needs to man up and bat 3....he is the leader and best batsman we have atm and thsi is why he is Captain....to lead from the front when things hit the fan. We will need him at 3 in 2013 ASHES.

  • dummy4fb on November 18, 2011, 12:47 GMT

    why are all these negetive comments coming out of people. we need good players are the monment and we aren;t going thier. bring back warnie or mcgrath australia u r the besht in the world.

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