The Investec Ashes 2013

Haddin hopeful of quick fix

Daniel Brettig in Taunton

June 24, 2013

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Mickey Arthur speaks to Brad Haddin at training, Adelaide Oval, January 21, 2012
Brad Haddin: "It's obviously disappointing for Mickey. He's put a lot of time and effort into this team, but it's a fresh start." © Getty Images
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Australia's Ashes vice-captain Brad Haddin has expressed earnest hope the new coach Darren Lehmann can help provide the rapid fixes the tourists desperately need if they are to seriously challenge England after Mickey Arthur's "cut-throat" removal.

As an injury replacement during the shambolic tour of India earlier this year and over the past three weeks as the captain of Australia A, Haddin was a witness first to the decline in the national team's standards and then to Arthur's swift exit as a result, across a series of meetings during the team's match against Gloucestershire in Bristol.

Shocking as the initial news had been, Haddin was optimistic that Lehmann's appointment would provide the supercharge needed for a team short of confidence and balance ahead of the series. This is no more readily apparent than in the team's batting stocks, where the likes of Phillip Hughes, Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja and the captain Michael Clarke have precious little form behind them.

"We've got to be accountable as a bowling group and as a batting group," Haddin said. "All of us as a batting group, there are obviously areas we need to improve in our game, and I'm pretty confident we'll go in the right direction over the next two weeks. The bottom line is we've got to perform and I'm comfortable with where this group's at. We've got the best cricketers in Australia here and I'm comfortable we can move forward with that."

Like his captain Michael Clarke, Haddin accepted the players had to take some responsibility for the fate that has befallen Arthur. But he was swiftly on-message to avoid too much introspection over the events of the past few months. After all, only two weeks out from the toss of the coin at Trent Bridge there is scarcely a second to waste on solid knocks and second thoughts.

"It's not something that we have to deal with every day, the loss of a coach," Haddin said. "But from our point of view we've got to make this a fresh start. We can go over what's happened as much as we want an analyse what's gone on but the bottom line is we've got to move forward as a cricket team and we've got to start performing.

"It's obviously disappointing for Mickey. He's put a lot of time and effort into this team, but it's a fresh start and we've got to make sure we're in the right frame come that first Test. We as a group have to be accountable for where we want to take this team, and we'll see how successful that is. We're pretty comfortable now with moving forward. It's not hard to be motivated by this tour.

"I don't think a day like this is needed to remind everyone of how high the stakes are playing for Australia. This is cut-throat, this is the pinnacle of what we all do as coaches, players, support staff, everyone. And one thing with this group I've noticed - we're a very talented squad and as guys we just need to move forward as a cricket team and become better as a team moving forward and I'm very confident that can happen."

Recalled to the Australian team as the kind of senior player so desperately missed since the retirements of Michael Hussey and Ricky Ponting, Haddin can recall his days jousting with Lehmann as opposing captains in domestic matches between South Australia and New South Wales. But over the past three weeks as the captain of Australia A, Haddin has watched Lehmann's coaching work up close, and liked what he saw.

"It was an enjoyable A tour, we got out of it exactly what we needed leading into this series," Haddin said. "We had a lot of players at different stages in preparation, guys on their first tour, guys getting ready for the Ashes, and Darren and Troy [Cooley] were very positive about the cricket we wanted to play and that we wanted to win three matches. Darren was very aggressive in his approach there. He wanted us to get the game moving forward and win cricket games. That's what we did.

"We've sat down as a group and planned what we want to do over the next couple of weeks leading into the first Test. As a group we're pretty clear on what we want to do, we're at different stages as players, but we're all on the same path here trying to get to this first Test. It's a new start."

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

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Posted by alstar2281 on (June 25, 2013, 22:57 GMT)

A player should be self motivate to perform, however for an athlete who own sense of self-worth often stems from their deeds on the pitch once you are in a downward spiral of poor form and negative thoughts, it wont matter who motivating the tour is. This is where the coach is most important. A coach needs to be their to work with the player on their skills and on their mind to get them going positively. For the player if the can't relate to the coach, or they don't trust what he says or respect what he does he will not be able to revive the players mental state. I suspect this is the heart of the reason for Arthur's removal. I don't believe the players believed what he was telling them anymore rendering him void in the role. Bringing in a player like Lehman who the players will have immedate respect for simple based on his achievements in the game will already have improved the mental state of those struggling. They will believe what he says and there will be improvements.

Posted by   on (June 25, 2013, 17:24 GMT)

@PrasPunter - Agree with your statement on the fact that Aussie team has to do things their way.

But India won because of luck? Beating 6 teams across 7 games is a matter of luck? Do tell me how.

Posted by sharidas on (June 25, 2013, 14:15 GMT)

Irrespective of who the coach was, a player should be motivated by himself to perform. Agreed, that there may be issues which can affect a player under a coach with whom they are not happy with.But, it just boils down to one thing.....at the moment Australia lacks quality of the past. In time, things will certainly change for the better. Though, I will be happy to see a revival, I do not see them doing anything of significance on this tour.Good luck !

Posted by   on (June 25, 2013, 13:03 GMT)

Hadds has had a very good 6-9 months or so and I really think he is going to step up and be counted in this series. The more I think it over, the more I reckon his form in the lead up to his being dropped was down to personal circumstances. He had been very good during the last Ashes and his form lately has been nothing short of outstanding. He will play a major role along with Clarke and probably Steve Smith in the middle order in countering Swann. I'm backing him.

Posted by PrasPunter on (June 25, 2013, 11:34 GMT)

a lucky victory in CT and suddenly india and bcci has become role-models for the entire cricketing fraternity ? @cricketmaan, have seen enough of the talk about how other teams can take a clue or two from india in the last couple of days. Let the Aussies do things our own way.

Posted by CricketMaan on (June 25, 2013, 10:26 GMT)

BCCIs move to bar players talking to media helped them at least in CT, so why not try that for Aussies? This whole talking business has to stop..just go out and play the damn game! and keep it simple like Boof says. Why talk?

Posted by   on (June 25, 2013, 9:57 GMT)

I wish the cricketers would stop the jargon "as a group", "moving forward" etc. Get some work done on media skills!

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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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