Australia news January 7, 2013

Haddin set to go to Ashes


Brad Haddin is the man to fill the leadership and experience void left by the retirements of Michael Hussey and Ricky Ponting, after the coach Mickey Arthur indicated Australia's No. 2 gloveman has all but booked his ticket to the Ashes.

Recalled to the ODI team while Matthew Wade rests for the first two ODIs against Sri Lanka, Haddin's commission is expected to extend well beyond that as a senior pro in a squad now characterised by more youthful and uncertain faces. Arthur's confirmation that two glovemen will be taken to England means Haddin need only maintain his strong form this summer to make his spot safe. There is also consideration being given to taking him to India primarily as a batsman.

Shocked as Arthur, the captain Michael Clarke and the selectors were by Hussey's decision to retire while still providing a critical link on the batting order, their thoughts have turned to Haddin as the next best option to provide an experienced head and immaculate training standards around the dressing room. Wade's standing as the No.1 wicketkeeper is not in dispute, but Haddin will now be a figure of considerable use to Clarke and his team.

"We've probably looked at a full group of 20, 21 players we need to cut down to take to India," Arthur said. "Obviously there are two keepers in the 20, 21 at the moment - but whether we take two keepers I'm not sure. I do know we'll be taking two keepers to the Ashes in England though.

"So really that's important we know who our second keeper is and he's comfortable that he knows exactly where he stands as well. At the moment the second keeper is definitely Brad Haddin."

Since rushing home from the West Indies tour last year to be with his family as his daughter Mia battled cancer, Haddin has won plenty of admiration for fighting his way back to the fringes of the national side by playing strong for New South Wales. Some games this summer have had Haddin spending the night by his daughter's bedside in hospital then going out the next day to bat for the Blues, something he has done to great effect while making 337 runs at 67.40 in four Shield matches, with two centuries.

"In all honesty cricket was not anywhere in my thoughts," Haddin had said in Brisbane after hearing of his recall. "When something like that happens your life is put on hold. I have been lucky that things have gone in the right direction enough to allow me to be back playing cricket. But in all honestly I wasn't thinking about cricket at all. I would not be playing cricket now if it affected my family. I am no different to anyone. Your family comes first."

Haddin has indicated his willingness to be part of the squad as Wade's back-up, and so provide guidance for Clarke and the rest of the team that was lost when Ponting then Hussey elected to draw their international careers to a close. "I have played enough cricket now to offer a little bit in that area," Haddin said. "It is an exciting team for the first game.

"You remember back to when you first started how exciting it was to have guys around giving you those little tips. I was lucky to have Haydos [Matthew Hayden] barking at me and pushing me in the right direction. I have been lucky enough to have a couple of tours to England, one as the No. 1 keeper and one behind Adam Gilchrist. From that point of view I would be ready to go in whatever capacity they want."

While Haddin was delighted to be recalled having not expected to return, the younger gloveman Tim Paine must bide his time again. Australia A will tour England ahead of the Ashes tour, and this may now be the trip Paine makes to the UK rather than the Ashes tour he would have liked to be part of after making a sterling return from a serious finger injury.

"Tim's been knocking on the door," Arthur said. "Tim's performances are getting better for Tasmania and the Hurricanes. We still feel right now that at this particular moment though that Brad Haddin is the second keeper to Matthew Wade in all forms. Painey just needs to keep working, keep working hard, keep knocking the door down and he'll certainly put his name up in lights as well."

Aside from Haddin, the likes of Usman Khawaja, Aaron Finch and the stand-in captain George Bailey now have the chance to press their cases for higher honours due to the bevy of players rested from the first two ODIs. Arthur baulked at the suggestion of the series being used as a Test trial but agreed now was the chance for a younger generation to show their aptitude and desire for national duty.

"There's massive opportunity for somebody to put their hand up and really tell us they're around," Arthur said. "Someone who can really win us games and really make his mark, because losing Ponting and Hussey in the last four Test matches, we've only lost 250 Test caps ... so if I was a young batsman in Australia at the moment it's a massively exciting time.

"Some really good performances can give you a gig in all forms. So we are really hoping that somebody puts their hand up. I'm really excited about working with this younger group of batsmen, it really excites me and I'm sure somebody is going to stand up and make a real name for themselves."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 10, 2013, 1:49 GMT

    1. Cowan 2. Warner 3. Hughes 4. Khawaja 5. Clarke 6. Watson 7. Haddin / Wade 8. Johnson / Smith 9. Siddle 10. Pattinson 11. Lyon 12. Starc 13. Cummins

    This team bats to 10 and Lyon can hit some runs. Play Smith and we bat to 11.

    Watson only plays if he bowls, otherwise play Cutting

    If you play Wade, don't worry about playing spinners. Not really an option in India.

  • Cameron on January 9, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    Tim Paine is averaging under 15 in the Shield this season and was a relative failure with the bat on the Aus A tour of England in the winter. Australia will not play a wicket keeper who cannot bat no matter how good they are with the gloves. Hopefully Wade can work on his keeping to the spinners (he is fine against the quicks) as he is definitely the best batsmen of the keeping options. The squad for the Ashes is still far from certain. Not sure how many they will want to take but they will definitely need 5 quicks which should be Pattinson, Siddle, Johnson, Starc & Bird. Lyon is the likely spinner but perhaps Zampa could be a Bolter as a second spinner (only spin bowler with a 5 wicket match this season). Wade is the keeper & it appears Haddin could be selected as a back up as both specialist keeper and batsmen (only bat with 2 100's is the Shield this season). Batsmen to be Warner, Hughes, Kawahja, Clarke, plus 3 of Cowan, Doolan, Watson, Maxwell & Hussey.

  • Dummy4 on January 9, 2013, 2:50 GMT

    I cannot believe that they have chosen Haddin again. Seriously, his keeping is a disgrace, how many byes and dropped catches does have to give away before someone wakes up???? Tim PAINE should be next cab off the rank. And in addition to shockingly inept keeping, Haddin has to be the mouthiest cricketer bar none.

  • Rajaram on January 9, 2013, 1:03 GMT

    Brad Haddin is A BETTER WICKET KEEPER THAN MATHEW WADE, but his BYING IS UNDEPENDABLE - unlike Mathew Wade. How will they select between the two? Mathew Wade as a BATSMAN ONLY?

  • Hamish on January 9, 2013, 1:01 GMT

    Couldn't we actually take 1 person who can actually keep wickets to a high standard? Paine is looking good this summer with the gloves and already has 2 50s in India so when you look at the horrible swipe Wade did in the 2nd innings in Sydney would probably be more use in front of the stumps as well.

  • Phil on January 9, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    Furthermore, for the Ashes, I'd like to see: Warner, Watson,Hughes, Khawaja, Clarke, Burns, Wade, Cutting, Pattinson, Bird, Krezja. 12th Man: Cummins. Furthermore, I'd like to see David Warner promoted to Vice Captain, to shake him into major responsibility. It did wonders for Punter Ponting years ago. Khawaja and Paine would be the changes as we focus on the future as Paine can backup Wade.

  • Cameron on January 8, 2013, 22:39 GMT

    1. Hughes - Selectors are just waiting for Cowan or Warner to slump to justify hughes moving back where he belongs (cowan suffers here). 2. Warner - Much more comfortable than Cowan at the moment and looking like a decent opener. 3. Khawaja - This is where the selectors wanted him from day 1, he should get an extended run here. 4. Clarke 5. Doolan - Deserves his chance with the season he has had. 6. Watson - Has to play as a dedicated all-rounder or not at all! Is not an opener and never will be. Bowling is a neccesity! 7. Wade - Made a few blunders against SL but not crucial errors, is slowly cementing his place. 8. Johnson - I think he has done enough of late to be the AUS aggresor, at least until ENG shut him down during the ashes... 9. Pattinson - Youth aggression and actual accuracy (im looking at you Starc). 10. Lyon - Getting better every game. 11. Bird - is the word! 12. Siddle - If things need tightening up we drop Johnson and take sids.

    Thats my game 12 for ENG

  • j on January 8, 2013, 16:28 GMT

    Can't stop laughing at the idea of Haddin being back in the team in time for yet another Ashes defeat.

  • Jeff on January 8, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    Macca_mat: Agree with you mate. I think I'd go David Hussey in England and India though, given his abilities against spin and his good history on the English domestic circuit. I agree that Henriques is a good fit for the Ashes - but I think Butterworth would give us more options there (he is a great seamer and can swing the ball; plus he can bat). On a separate issue, they won't take two keepers to India, instead they'll take an extra spinner. I think they'd be better served to go with Hauritz, but it looks like they want to see what Maxwell has (Krezja is another option; as is young leg-spinner Boyce from Queensland). That said, Haddin is one of the top two or three players of spin in the country (along with Clarke, Hodge and David Hussey), so he may get the nod as a specialist batsman. Seems unlikely though, from what Arthur indicates about not taking two keepers.

  • Ronald on January 8, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    What a joke Australias selectors have become. Their selections cost Aust the Perth test against SA & now this. Haddin was dropped from the ODI side over three years ago because he was past it & now we are to believe he is once again good enough? Paines batting form has improved markedly & he has always been a better gloveman & should have been Wades stand-in. Also, I don't know why so many people think Khawaja should be an automatic selection. He is still to prove himself at the top level & after having failed once, he would not be first choice in my team.