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It was like a knife to the heart: Haddin

29 November 2016

Haddin has opened up on his axing during the 2015 Ashes // Getty

Former wicketkeeper-batsman reveals what hurt the most about his axing during the 2015 Ashes

Brad Haddin has criticised recently-retired National Selector Rod Marsh for his handling of the former Test gloveman's axing during the 2015 Ashes campaign, saying comments from Marsh in the media at the time were "the thing that hurt the most".

Haddin was controversially dropped for the third Test of the series having withdrawn from the second Test at Lord's when his daughter Mia fell ill and was forced to fly home to Australia.

After declaring himself available for selection again for the third Test at Edgbaston, selectors opted to stick with rookie gloveman Peter Nevill for the rest of the series, effectively ending Haddin's seven-year Test career.

Quick Single: Haddin opens up on his toughest battle

In his newly-released autobiography My Family's Keeper, Haddin reveals his frustration at "not being told straight out" by Marsh that he was dropped, adding the selector's public comments about his axing were "like a knife to the heart".

"The thing that hurt me the most in the whole business was a quote Rod Marsh gave to the media in response to the outcry against the decision," Haddin writes about criticism from the likes of Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden at the time that his axing went against the team's 'family first' mantra.

"He said, 'It was an amazingly hard call, but we have to try and do the best thing for the country and the selection panel believe that was the best thing for the team, for the country.'

Nevill took over from Haddin during the 2015 Ashes series // Getty
Nevill took over from Haddin during the 2015 Ashes series // Getty

"As he pointed out in the same interview, Rod had known me for two decades, since I was a teenager at the Cricket Academy. He knew that the team and my country meant everything to me. In fact one of the things I am most proud of as both a cricketer and a man is the comment made by Darren Lehmann and many of the guys I'd played with that I put the team first every time.

"So reading those words from Rod, which sounded as though he was saying I would put my own desire to play above what was best for the team or for Australia, well, it was like a knife to the heart."

Haddin reveals how he twice asked Marsh directly about his future in the Test side when both he and Nevill were selected in the same XI for a tour game between the second and third Tests.

Haddin saw the selection as a sign that Nevill would retain the gloves for the third Test but, when he approached Marsh on the morning of the tour match to clarify the situation, he says the selector twice avoided giving him a straight answer.

Speaking to cricket.com.au earlier this month, two days before Marsh stood down as chairman of selectors, Haddin said he held no grudges for the fact that he was dropped, but maintains Marsh could have handled the situation better.

"I'm a realist; I got dropped on form," he said. "It was no one else's fault but my own.

Marsh and Haddin during the Ashes // Getty

"So I hold no grudges with why I was dropped, it was just probably the honesty. He never actually told me I was dropped.

"I've always been a straight shooter and (I wanted him to say) 'Brad, you've been dropped on form'. That was never said to me.

"It was only said, 'We're going to go with the same team because we had a win'. Which is fine, but he never actually said, 'Brad, you're dropped'."

Coach Darren Lehmann has revealed his regret at selecting Haddin and fellow veteran Shane Watson for the Ashes campaign, saying he was "blinded a little through sentiment and a belief they could turn around their declining form".

Watson, like Haddin, played the first match of the series before being dropped and Lehmann says if he had his time again, neither player would have been selected for the tour.

"I knew in my heart of hearts they had run their race at Test level," Lehmann writes in his book Coach.

"Given my time again my preference as just one member of the NSP (national selection panel) would have been to look beyond Watson and Haddin for that Ashes series, but circumstances dictated otherwise. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Haddin and Lehmann during the fourth Test at Trent Bridge // Getty
Haddin and Lehmann during the fourth Test at Trent Bridge // Getty

"In the case of Brad Haddin ... we should never have taken him to the West Indies and the United Kingdom in the first place, something I think he, too, now acknowledges."

Haddin, who praised Lehmann for the way he handled the keeper's axing during the Ashes, agreed that if the selectors had their doubts about his form, they shouldn't have picked him for such an important series.

"If we were walking the tight rope that closely leading into an Ashes campaign, then they shouldn't have taken me," he told cricket.com.au. "If that was their feeling.

"I hadn't had the runs, but I was always able to bring myself up for an Ashes campaign. I was always able to bring myself up for that big occasion and my record in those campaigns speak for themselves. But it was my fault, I shouldn't have put myself in the position to get dropped.

"I don't blame anyone else for dropping me. I just think the honestly around it could have been clearer."

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Meg Lanning Steve Smith

About the Writer

 @martinsmith9994
@martinsmith9994

Martin Smith is a writer for cricket.com.au. He previously wrote for Yahoo!7 Sport and Fox Sports.

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