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Nevill still number one gloveman: Haddin

Test great impressed with former Blues teammate's 'keeping in Sri Lanka Tests as Wade shines in ODIs

Australia wicketkeeper-batsman Peter Nevill has earned the support of his predecessor Brad Haddin following a lean run with the bat in the recent Test series in Sri Lanka.

While Nevill was one of a host of Australians to endure a torrid time in the middle throughout the shock 3-0 defeat – scoring 51 runs in six innings at an average of 8.5 – the man many consider his nearest rival for Test wicketkeeping duties, Matthew Wade, enjoyed a productive time with the bat in the ODI series that immediately followed, with 155 runs at 38.75.

Wade played the last of his 12 Tests in March 2013 and while Haddin conceded Nevill needs more runs, he believes the incumbent remains the best man for the job.

"I thought his 'keeping was excellent through those Tests in Sri Lanka," Haddin told cricket.com.au of his former NSW teammate.

"Obviously Australia won't be happy with the result or the way they played in that series, but I thought his 'keeping was very good.

"He'll be disappointed he didn't get more runs but I still see him as the premier gloveman in Australia."

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Nevill is averaging 20.88 from 15 Tests (19 innings) with two half-centuries, and the right-hander hasn't passed 32 in his past 10 trips to the middle in Baggy Green.

The  Victoria-born New South Welshman averages 38 in first-class cricket and while his lack of runs could be put down to limited opportunities at home last summer and a series of particularly difficult challenges against spin on the dusty tracks of Sri Lanka, the pressure will doubtless continue to mount if the runs don't come against South Africa and Pakistan this summer.

Haddin, arguably the second-best batsman among Australia's cavalcade of great wicketkeepers after Adam Gilchrist, went without a half-century in his first eight Tests before breaking through with a career-best 169 against New Zealand in the summer of 2008-09.

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It was an innings that resulted in his Test batting average jumping from 26 to 36, and it climbed as high as 42.54 before dropping to 32.98 in his final Test.

But Haddin insists the wicketkeeper's job with the bat can't be judged solely on standard batting measures.

"Traditionally 'keepers enjoy having the chance to scrap their way through an innings and get runs when the team needs them," he said.

"They're not always judged on their hundreds but more so those important partnerships they have with the tail."

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Wade posted two hundreds during his tenure in Baggy Green – one each against Sri Lanka and West Indies – but Haddin believes the Victorian must continue refining his glovework if he's to get to Nevill's level behind the stumps.

"He just has to keep working hard, and challenging himself to be the best 'keeper he possibly can be," the 66-Test veteran said.

"There's no secret remedy. It's about hard work and committing yourself to improving your technique as much as you can." 

Meg Lanning Steve Smith