Ashes 2015

Ponting slams call to omit Haddin

Former skipper warns team may miss Haddin 'more than they expect' as Nevill preferred

Dave Middleton

29 July 2015, 08:41 AM

Ricky Ponting has criticised the decision to drop Brad Haddin, the "heart and soul of the Australian cricket team", for the third Ashes Test, saying it "does not sit right with me".

The Australian selectors have opted to retain Peter Nevill, who took a record seven catches on debut at Lord's and scored a tidy 45 with the bat.

Former Australia captain Ponting said he believed Haddin should have regained his spot after missing the Lord's Test to be with his family.

"He made the only and right decision to be with his daughter Mia who was very ill in hospital and missed that match," Ponting said.

Haddin and family at CA's 2014 Christmas dinner // Getty Images

"I know it would have been a hard call for him, he has been a single-minded and determined servant of Australian cricket, but he rightfully put his family first and has paid the price for it.

"I know he won't complain about being dropped. He is a tough character but it doesn't sit right with me.

Haddin left Australia's tour of the West Indies in 2012 after his daughter Mia was taken ill, later diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare form of children's cancer.

Back-up keeper Matthew Wade took the gloves for that tour and retained his spot, a decision Ponting labelled a "mistake", until Haddin regained his spot for the 2013 Ashes tour.

Keeping Wade a 'mistake' says Ponting // Getty Images

"He kept knocking at the door and common sense eventually prevailed when he was brought back into the team," Ponting said.

Haddin was then instrumental in the Ashes whitewash that followed in the 2013-14 Australian summer, scoring 493 runs at 62 and was a close second behind Mitchell Johnson to be man of the series.

Ponting said Nevill was "tidy without being exceptional" at Lord's but noted Haddin was "a broken finger away from recall so this may not be the end for him".

Nevill enjoyed a memorable Test debut at Lord's (restrictions apply)

"But I suspect we won't see him again and I am a little concerned that the team may miss him more than they expect," Ponting wrote in his News Corp column.

Ponting played with three wicketkeepers during his Test career – Ian Healy, Adam Gilchrist and Haddin.

Nevill and Haddin train at Edgbaston // Getty Images

The former Queensland gloveman joined the chorus of disapproval over Haddin's dropping, with Healy saying it was a "harsh" decision.

"I think that's a harsh call on Brad Haddin," he told Fox Sports.

"I'd like him to have a chance to redeem his Cardiff performance and then maybe at the end of the series – or when he doesn't redeem himself – then we can move to Nevill.

"But the good thing is we know our next position as a wicketkeeper is all set."

Fellow Queenslander Matthew Hayden said the decision to keep Haddin sidelined for the third Test was "outrageous". 

After the hell he's gone through it is outrageous that Brad Haddin hasn't gotten his spot back for the third Ashes Test," Hayden wrote for News Corp.

"Any mum and dad who has experienced the issues Brad and his wife Karina are going through will understand there's no way he was in position to play cricket at Lord's. But now that it's happened, it's behind them and Brad's been retained on tour, he just has to play.

"What kind of precedent do the selectors want to set? It doesn't say much for the family-first policy if Brad puts his family first and all of a sudden he's out. Sometimes the heart has to play a part in selection."

Hayden (right) with Ponting, Clarke and Haddin in India in 2008 // Getty Images

Hayden added he was impressed by Nevill's Lord's debut, but suggested the New South Welshman would want to earn the spot on merit.

"I know when I replaced an injured Mark Taylor for one Test in South Africa in 1994 the last thing I wanted to do was claim his spot. I wanted to win that spot and make it mine," said Hayden.

"I liked what I saw from Nevill. He's got that classical Australian wicketkeeping technique. It's almost like they're all cloned. You could put a frame around Ian Healy, Brad Haddin and Nevill and call them the same keeper in a lot of ways.

"He had a good game, so well played to him. But you know what? You have to earn your stripes."

Michael Clarke confirmed the selectors' decision to stick with Nevill on the third Test's eve.

Rod Marsh and Brad Haddin // Getty Images

Rod Marsh chats to Brad Haddin recently // Getty Images

"Rod (Marsh) and Boof (Darren Lehmann) came and spoke to me and told me what they were thinking," Clarke said.

"It's obviously a lot harder for me because I have that attachment to Hadds. I've grown up playing cricket with him, we've spent a lot of time together and I love the fact that he's still here working hard. If an opportunity comes he'll grab that with both hands.

"On the other hand, Nev made the most of his opportunity in the second Test. I thought he batted really well and I thought he kept exceptionally well.

"So it's a tough one when you sit in the middle, but that's the way the selectors have gone and I respect their decision."

Clarke confirmed that Haddin would have played at Lord's despite speculation over his future after a poor run of form with the bat and expensive dropped catch in Cardiff when he put down centurion Joe Root before he had scored.

"He still wants to play, that's for sure, and he has a great relationship with Nev," Clarke said. "I think he sees his role over the last couple of days leading up to this Test to help Nev as much as possible and they are really good friends so there's certainly no lack of respect there.

Captains speak before third Ashes Test 

"Hadds will certainly wish Nev all the best and hope he does well. And if there's an injury or there's another opportunity then I'll know he'll be ready.

"I can't be any more complimentary for what he's done for the Australian team, the NSW team as a player.

"He's a great man, Hadds. He's been an awesome vice-captain. I've really loved having him as vice-captain and he's performed exceptionally well. He's done himself and his family really proud in the way that he's represented Australia and NSW and I hope he keeps playing."

Click above to learn more about how to stream the Ashes and more cricket