Smith, Lehmann laud mentor and mate

Skipper and coach sing the praises of veteran keeper who never took a backward step

Australia captain Steve Smith and Bupa Support Team Head Coach Darren Lehmann have praised wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin after the gloveman called time on his celebrated international career today.

Haddin retired from limited-overs cricket following Australia’s 2015 World Cup triumph on home soil, but today confirmed he’s played his last match in the Baggy Green.

Quick Single: Haddin announces Test retirement

"It's a sad day for Australian cricket, because he was a fantastic player, a fantastic mentor for a lot of young players. A great mentor for me as coach," Lehmann said.

"He's a great bloke. I played against him as a youngster, (when I was) with South Australia, and saw him rise through the ranks and play some amazing knocks for Australia.

WATCH: A collection of Haddin classics

“Some of the catches and keeping he did over that period of time, in 66 Test matches, is an amazing achievement for him – but also (because of) what he went through personally.

“It's a credit to him and (wife) Karina and the kids.

"He's a fantastic human being and he'll be welcome in our changerooms all the time, because he's an absolute superstar."

Haddin’s 66-Test career yielded 3,266 runs at 32.98 with four centuries while pouching 262 catches and eight stumpings.

His 270 Test dismissals puts him fourth on the list of most-ever by an Australian and equal sixth of all-time alongside West Indies legend Jeff Dujon.

Haddin had the unenviable task of replacing the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman the game has known in Adam Gilchrist, but Lehmann says he “did it pretty well”.

"He made some crucial runs for us in Ashes series, and in different series all round in all formats,” Lehmann said.

“For us, his keeping was exceptional, his batting was very good. It was a case of him being able to turn a game very quickly for you. That's what Gilchrist did exceptionally well as well.

"He's done a great job for Australia and he should be extremely proud of what he's achieved on and off the cricket field."


Smith says Haddin was a mentor to him // Getty Images

Smith made his first-class debut for NSW alongside Haddin in January 2008.

Haddin was the man at the other end when Smith brought up his maiden Test match century at The Oval in 2013, and the new Test captain thanked the veteran for his guidance and friendship throughout his career.

"He's been a terrific player over a long period of time for Australia, certainly one of the best team men I've ever been around,” Smith said. “He always put the team first in every aspect.

"Hopefully the person coming in and filling that job can do it really well for him.

"He's been a great mentor for me. I've learned so much off him, throughout (playing for) NSW. 

"When I started there he was captain. I learned a lot off him.

"In the Australian set-up as well he was always took me under his wing and helped me develop as a player and as a person. I'm very thankful for that."

It wasn’t just Haddin’s abilities behind the stumps and with the bat that made him a valuable asset.

There were few players around the country who had the same respect and experience as a leader, with Lehmann applauding his work as Michael Clarke’s deputy.

"The way he went about it as vice-captain of Australia was exceptional,” Lehmann said. “He was instrumental in Ashes, World Cup, series wins in South Africa.

“We had a lot of success with Brad in the team. He was fantastic around the group and he complemented Michael really well.

“He was a fantastic vice-captain for Australia, one of the best we've ever had."

When asked about what legacy Haddin will leave, Lehmann said: "The baggy green, the way he wore it with pride.

“The way he helped younger players.

“The way he helped drive the team as a whole.

“The way he helped coaches.

“The way he helped mould the team.

“The way we play today is an exceptional legacy for him.

“The way he thought about his family and helped his family through difficult times, and the way he helps other people's family and friends.

"Every accolade that comes his way he deserves, for the next 24, 48 hours and for the rest of his life.

“He's been a brilliant contributor to NSW cricket and Australian cricket, and we wish him all the best."

While Haddin is done on the international circuit, the veteran will continue to play in the KFC Big Bash League with the Sydney Sixers this season.