The Ashes 2013 May 14, 2013

Age no barrier for recalled Haddin

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Brad Haddin may be comfortably the oldest wicketkeeper currently involved in Test cricket, but he believes his age and experience could be to his advantage on the upcoming Ashes tour. Recalled to the Test squad as vice-captain to Michael Clarke for the Ashes, Haddin is set to breathe new life into his international career at 35, an age when Australian gloveman have typically been winding down towards retirement: Ian Healy played his last Test at 35 and Adam Gilchrist and Rod Marsh both retired at 36.

Of the wicketkeepers currently considered the incumbents in Test sides around the world, the only men aged over 30 are England's Matt Prior and India's MS Dhoni, who are both 31. Sri Lanka's Prasanna Jayawardene, 33, played the Tests in Australia five months ago but was overlooked for their recent series against Bangladesh. But glovework doesn't have to be a young man's game: the most recent 40-year-old to play Test cricket was a wicketkeeper, England's Alec Stewart.

"The older you get, you understand more about your game," Haddin told reporters at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane on Monday. "If you talk to guys like Rod Marsh, your technique and the rhythm of the keeper you are comes later in your career. I'm in as good a shape as anyone here. To me it's all about challenging yourself to be better. The day I don't want to challenge myself any more then I'll walk away."

Haddin will be Australia's first-choice wicketkeeper for the opening Ashes Test at Trent Bridge in July, ending for now the year-long hold that 25-year-old Matthew Wade has had on the position. But Wade will be part of the squad as the backup gloveman and Haddin said he did not expect his place to be a formality throughout the series if he was not performing.

"No one's guaranteed to be in every Test," he said. "You've got to perform. This is the Australian cricket team. It's not the under-15Bs down the road."

On Haddin's side is his solid record against England. During the 2009 series in England he was one of Australia's better performers and scored 278 runs at 46.33 including one century, and at home in 2010-11 he was third on Australia's run tally behind Michael Hussey and Shane Watson, with 360 runs at 45.00. However, he has not played in a winning Ashes campaign, which is a record he is keen to rectify.

"This is the most exciting thing for an Australian cricketer. There's no better theatre or stage than an Ashes campaign," he said. "You want to challenge yourself against the best. And if you are successful as a group in this, it is something you remember forever."

Haddin and the rest of the squad members who are not at the IPL have been training at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane before their departure for England, where the Champions Trophy campaign precedes the Ashes warm-up games. They have been working with Dukes balls and have also been using the ProBatter system, which attempts to simulate the experience of facing specific bowlers

"I've had a pretty good hit on [ProBatter] in the last couple of weeks, it took a bit to get used to," Haddin said. "It's not as realistic as facing somebody, but it's something a bit different and if it helps you a little bit, well it's all worthwhile. It's all about trying different things and challenging yourself to be a better cricketer, and if that works for some guys, well that's great, if they want to spend more time in the nets to hone their skills, that's well and good too. It's just about having all these things available to challenge yourself to be better."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Gordo85 on May 15, 2013, 14:06 GMT

    Well this isn't good news for Chris Hartley the poor fellow. Poor Wade also. Often what tends to happen for some strange reason or another players tend to hang in for too long at least Gilchrist knew when it was time for him to call it a day. For some reason as well most of them tend to be from NSW who for some reason don't want to stand down even if they are getting too old so in the mean time the block the youth coming through.

  • dummy4fb on May 15, 2013, 10:15 GMT

    he is the best choice...wade cant make the it..haddin knows about english conditions...we all saw what wade did in england last year

  • ygkd on May 15, 2013, 1:33 GMT

    Age is not Haddin's barrier. Age, in the context of the current team, is a positive. Hence, Haddin gets a gig as VC. The big question is whether or not hard decisions will be made after Haddin's return cameo. There are three outsiders to choose from, Paine, Ludeman and Hartley. Any of the three would be a very, very good choice; Paine for leadership, Ludeman for glovework and Hartley for experience.

  • AKS286 on May 14, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    Age no Barrier- Really !! these type of motivational words is for Haddin, Marsh, Hodge, Rogers, Voges, Klinger, MJ, Hilfy. And also the above WK are mentioned like Prior plays under Cook, Dhoni is a great person and self captain, Prassana is dropped by SLC, Stewart is also under Atherton but the problem is with Haddin is that he plays under Clarke's captaincy and he is a senior So due to respect, non-favorite & ego he has to suffer by current Oz captain. and sure this Ashes will be the last test for Haddin's career.

  • Beertjie on May 14, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    Spot on @reddawn1975 on (May 14, 2013, 9:36 GMT) - Paine is the man to replace Haddin. Better spinners than Lyon are going to play soon and you wouldn't want their chances ruined by an inept keeper like Wade. He's OK for the shorter forms but keep him away from tests unless he improves significantly keeping to the spinners. I agree he's a gritty fighting bat but that's not the main reason for him playing. And given the inexperience of the squad, Haddin simply had to be picked now. But I wouldn't have any compunction in replacing him with Paine for Ashes II provided someone can be identified to stand in for Clarke.

  • ScottStevo on May 14, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    @Ozcricketwriter, You must be kidding, Wade is an awful keeper and has proved so at test level, especially keeping to Lyon. To make matters worse there are some who actually think the bloke has any worth as a batsman - which again, he's proved he hasn't....I'd take Haddin and Paine long before even looking at Wade in the side. The bloke is a liability. Possibly a decent shout in limited overs stuff, not test matches. He bats with a distinct immaturity and throws his wicket away all too often... If Oz are looking for some experienced players, then haddin is a decent selection, much more so than Rogers. One of these guys actually has test experience, the other has played once...

  • Teachers on May 14, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    Lliam Flynn seems to be on the money. It does not matter who else is currently better than Haddin or Wade. Haddin is in the team for his experience, which includes vice captaincy should Clarke's dodgy back find us without a captain. He is also on the tour because of recent domestic and past Ashes performances. If he does well on this tour, he deserves to be no 1 keeper for the next 5 home tests. After that he will probably give the game away or will be challenged by the next best keeper at the time, be it Wade or anyone else, and this is when the emphasis on youth will come into play. Haddin is in the right place at the right time, he has been chosen to serve the needs of the moment.

  • Ms.Cricket on May 14, 2013, 10:38 GMT

    Of course Haddin would say what he has said. Australia would have been better served to give the younger Hartley and Paine a chance. Michael Clarke is a brilliant batsman but as a selector and captain he struggles massively.

  • VillageBlacksmith on May 14, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    ''Brad Haddin has been one of Australia's most solid performers in the past two Ashes series but he is yet to play in a winning campaign''.... Nice to have him back...

  • Camberwellcarrot1979 on May 14, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    I am sad that Wade won't have the gloves on. As an England fan I would have enjoyed the entertainment; keeping in England can be tricky and Wade is truly awful. One of the very worst I have ever seen and definitely the worst Aussie.

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