Apr 242013

Brad Haddin has emphasised the fundamental need for solidarity after he was named vice-captain in the 16-man Australia squad for the Ashes tour of England this summer.

Australia endured a miserable tour of India both on and off the field when a demoralising 4-0 series defeat was accompanied by dissension behind the scenes.

The quartet of then vice-captain Shane Watson, bowlers Mitchell Johnson – a high-profile omission from the Ashes squad – James Pattinson and batsman Usman Khawaja were suspended for the third Test after failing to make a presentation as to how the team could improve.

Watson subsequently flew home to be with his heavily pregnant wife while coach Mickey Arthur revealed there had been other ongoing issues that needed addressing as well, including being late for meetings and back-chat.

Just four days ago Watson quit his role to be replaced by Haddin, whose poor form last year had seen him dropped from the team although it is unclear whether he will replace Matthew Wade as wicketkeeper.

It is an inexperienced squad and, with the recent instability, things do not bode well for the tourists with Haddin recognising the need for the team to come together.

Haddin told Fox News: “I know if I am playing at the best of my ability I am the number one in my position.

“From that point of view it has been an exciting day today: there is nothing more exciting in this game of cricket than being involved in an Ashes campaign.

“We’ve picked 16 guys now who are going to go over there and we’ve got one thing in mind which is to come together as a team and win.

“It’s an honour and privilege to have the VC next to your name but we are not going to win this by ourselves.

“We need everyone going in the same direction and come together as a team and that is as simple as it is going to get, and the result in that is we will win the Ashes.”

Captain Michael Clarke also extolled Haddin’s leadership qualities.

Clarke said: “It’s exciting for Brad to be back in the group, there is no doubt about it.

“The other selectors on the Cricket Australia board appointed him vice captain after Shane standing down.

“But I think Brad’s role in the group would be no different vice-captain or not – he’s always been a leader around the group be it with New South Wales or the Australian team.

“I know he will take this in his stride and look forward to this opportunity but he is a wonderful guy.

“He’s been through some ups and downs through his life no doubt about it, he’s a strong character and he brings a lot of experience to this group.”

National selector John Inverarity added: “We feel it’s important to have a senior, seasoned player support Michael at this time.

“When Shane Watson advised of his decision to stand down, the NSP (national selection panel) viewed Brad as the exceptional candidate to step into this leadership void.”

Left-arm seamer James Faulkner is the only uncapped player to be named, with Johnson missing out.

Chris Rogers, the 35-year-old batsman who has just one Test cap to his name, also makes the squad and seamer Ryan Harris returns.

Of Rogers, Clarke said: “It’s good to see Chris back in the squad: he’s been a consistent performer over a long period of time in first-class cricket.

“So he certainly deserves his opportunity: he knows the English conditions really well and I am confident he will be a big performer in the Ashes.”

Fawad Ahmed, the Pakistan-born leg-spinner who has not yet received his Australian passport, has not been included, leaving Nathan Lyon as the only spinner in the 16.

Ahmed also misses out on the 14-man Australia A squad to tour the British Isles ahead of the Ashes, which contains a number of players from the senior squad including Haddin, who will captain the side, Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Harris, Jackson Bird and Lyon.

Steven Smith, who misses out on a place in the Ashes squad despite some creditable performances in India, is vice-captain of the A side.

Smith is one of five men to drop out from the India squad – along with Johnson, Moises Henriques, Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell.

While hinting the suspension in India was excessive, Pattinson recognised the need for the team to come together.

He told BBC Five Live: “There were a few real issues going on over in India that were probably unacceptable.

“They weren’t big issues but again if we are working to become a better team we have to have everyone doing the right thing.

“I think it was something pretty small in the bigger picture but I suppose it’s all about everybody working together and working to achieve the right thing.

“We have put that behind us now, going to work from that and hopefully use that to our advantage to take on England in the coming series.

“I’d love to say we’d win 5-0 – being an Australian I’d love that.

“We’ve got a strong group, we’ve got good character and it makes us even more hungry to bounce back and prove the people that are doubting us wrong and take it to the Poms.”


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