The Ashes 2013

'Not going to win this by ourselves' - Haddin

Daniel Brettig

April 24, 2013

Comments: 28 | Text size: A | A

Brad Haddin plays an expansive shot during his innings of 30, India v Australia, 3rd Test, 5th day, Mohali, March 18, 2013,
Brad Haddin returned to Australia's Test side in India and has been elevated to vice-captain for the Ashes © BCCI

In the same moment Brad Haddin played down the importance of his elevation to the Australia Test vice-captaincy for the Ashes, he struck exactly the sort of team-oriented note the national selectors are hoping he maintains over three pressurised months at Michael Clarke's side in England.

After a period of confusion and exasperation about Australian cricket's direction, the announcement of the tour party for the Ashes brought a feeling of some relief. The squad appeared well balanced, various selection pratfalls had been avoided and, in Haddin and Chris Rogers, Clarke had two seasoned performers to fill the leadership void left by Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey.

Haddin's return to international cricket, following a year in which he has spent as much time as possible close to his ill daughter Mia after leaving in the midst of a West Indies tour to be with her, is a laudable story in itself, but Clarke and the selectors are not after human drama in England. They want a solid citizen and an able lieutenant and, to that end, Haddin made the right start.

"It's an honour and a privilege to have the VC next to your name, but your role doesn't change too much," Haddin told reporters in Sydney. "Michael controls what goes on in the team and our job is to come together as the group. We're not going to win this by ourselves. We need everyone going in the same direction and coming together as a team. That's as simple as it's going to get and the result in that is that we'll win the Ashes.

"I just had to trust that if I got back playing cricket, I could get back to this level. The only doubt that came across my mind was, 'Am I ever going to come back and play the game?' I've been allowed to do that through my family circumstances and I'm excited about today and can't wait to get involved in this Ashes campaign."

Apart from the leadership element, Haddin hopes also to provide sound glovework and brazen batting. Haddin's Test career that has at times been more muted than his best displays for New South Wales but in each of the past two Ashes series Haddin has been Australia's second-most accomplished performer, behind Clarke in 2009 and Hussey in 2010-11.

"I know if I'm playing to the best of my ability I'm the No. 1 choice in my position," he said. "From that point of view it's been an exciting day today. There's nothing more exciting in this game of cricket than being involved in an Ashes campaign. We've picked 16 guys now that are going to go over there and we've got one thing in mind and that's to come together as a team and win."

One other Ashes tourist happy to see Haddin return to his post behind the stumps is the spin bowler Nathan Lyon. While Matthew Wade's youth and exuberance has been a welcome commodity at times over the past year, Lyon has suffered from the younger gloveman's lapses. He said the balance achieved by the England squad was a welcome one.

"It's exciting to be named in the squad and a dream to be on an Ashes tour over to England," Lyon said. "It's going to be a massive challenge for the Australian cricket side but I think they've picked a really balanced squad for over there and I think we're heading in the right direction to bring home the Ashes.

"Chris Rogers is an unbelievable batsman, he's proven himself at first-class level all over the place, so it's exciting to have him in the squad, and to have Brad Haddin come back in, his experience and his leadership around the squad, especially with the younger fellas in the side, I know the young guys really love having Hadds around and he's going to be a vital player for us."

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

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Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (April 26, 2013, 12:20 GMT)

@meety.. I offered the ICC rankings as a BALANCE to the bloke who said oz bowlers shd be ranked 2-5 in the world... it was either that or a straightjacket! I also hinted that with Tremlett ranked #35 there was possibly room for improvement in that system... and I have also sd I think it will be a close series and i will also say i rate starco as much as patto... the bookies had oz as favourites in 2010 and they were wrong, they have eng as firm favourites in 2013, and they may be wrong again... who knows eh?

Posted by Meety on (April 26, 2013, 11:50 GMT)

@VillageBlacksmith on (April 26, 2013, 1:43 GMT) - I think there are two issues here, one - that Oz fans do tend to ASSUME that our bowlers will kick butt in England & two - that England fans ASSUME that because Cook & co ran amok in 10/11 - they will again this series. You are of course entitled to your opinion, but I just think using rankings are a bit flawed. Even the team rankings that have India so well placed - when how could any non-partisan fan say they are any better than Oz, SL or Pakistan? The same goes with the individual rankings - at one point 12 mths ago, Siddle was ranked the 6th best ALLROUNDER in Tests!!! A lot of English fans rate Onions as amongst the 3 best seamers England have & he is rated 61st.

Posted by   on (April 26, 2013, 7:57 GMT)

In fairness to Patto he was completely underdone going into the ODI series in England last year, anyone who'd seen him bowl at his best would realize that! Only McKay looked like he was prepared for that series and it showed.

Posted by HatsforBats on (April 26, 2013, 3:07 GMT)

@ VillageBlacksmith, Siddle took more wickets at a better (or equal) average and better strike rate than any England bowler in that series. There's no fault in accepting a better performance. Flintoff took 8 @ 52, hardly going pretty well. England got outplayed in that series but managed to win a few key sessions and the series, one of the beauties (and agonies) of test cricket. Pattinson has yet to play a test in England, the format in which he averages ~23, a bit early to judge him don't you think?

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (April 26, 2013, 2:43 GMT)

@hats/frank/meety... just trying to offer a balanced view... I have not even mentioned the eng bowlers for this coming series... just offered some stats insight ref how top of the rankings (numbers 2-5!) people are saying the oz bowlers shd be ... if you were serious about knocking the rankings perhaps you shd have spotted Tremlett at #34 and then start making a case but it seems you only rate your own bowlers!

Posted by Meety on (April 26, 2013, 1:57 GMT)

@VillageBlacksmith on (April 25, 2013, 7:32 GMT) - I would not be taking rankings too seriously. None of your bowlers looked any good against NZ - certainly none looked like they were top 10 quality. In fact, if you knew nothing about the respective bowlers in that series, you would say that NZ had the better RANKED pacers & spinners. Stat-wise Starc is not that great at Test level, but that sits right in the middle of Finn, Sanderson & Broads numbers with ZERO tests against Bangladesh. Harris hasn't played enuff recently to have a ranking, & Patto is NOT (or at least shouldn't be) in our top 6 or 7 ODI bowlers. You mentioned the 4-nil defeat to England in ODIs, but the reality is our best pacers in ODIs are Starc/Harris/McKay - only one of which played in that series. In terms of ODIs you might want to compare those 3 S/Rates & try & line them up with ANYTHING ENgland have ever produced!

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (April 26, 2013, 0:57 GMT)

@hatsforbats... Broad took 18 wkts and Flintoff was going pretty well until injured, just ask ponting, so I wd not say siddle outbowled the eng pace bowlers in a series eng won.... i also think it will be a close series, but i also think some posters need to keep in touch with reality, Patto has yet to take a wkt in Eng and Harriso is already back in the sick room... if the aussies have gone for rogers, I'm sure lee is waiting by the phone

Posted by Broken_F-ing_Arm on (April 25, 2013, 23:56 GMT)

@VillageBlackSmith Siddle is 3rd in PACE, Starc and Patto have only been in the team for a year + they"ve missed half of those games so it is impossible to expect them to rally up enough ranking points to get a place in the top 10. Pattinson has a 23 bowling average and can bowl +145kmh on slow pitches in India, as can starc. In this era holding a -30 bowling average throughout a career is a proud achievement. It is silly to predict how the Aussie bowling will peform based on last years results in an off season, stand alone 5 match ODI series. These 3 bowlers + our 2 others on this tour held off 4-5 young players who were averaging 17-22 in the shield season. They also held off experienced and well regarded bowlers in Hilfenhouse and M Johnson both who are in top 20. This surely must show how good these bowlers are. In 2005 England managed to win the ashes against some of the greatest players of all-time with no ashes winning experience. 2013 England is a quarter of the that AUS team.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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