Restored vice-captain Brad Haddin believes he can unify Australia’s Test side and help instil the team spirit Michael Clarke’s team needs to beat the odds and win back the Ashes.
Haddin has been named to fill a leadership void left when Shane Watson was forced to surrender the vice-captaincy, and is in the box seat to usurp Victorian Matthew Wade as Australia’s wicketkeeper for the five-match series starting July 10.
It’s believed Haddin’s temporary presence on the calamitous tour of India when he was called in for the injured Wade was needed in a squad that was dogged by in-fighting and poor discipline, evidenced by the four ‘homeworkgate’ suspensions.
“I was surprised when John called last night. But the bottom is we have to find a way to bring this squad back together,” Haddin told SEN on Wednesday.
“We are all going over there for one thing, we’ve got to get the Ashes back. Nothing else matters.
“We’ve got to come together and make sure we are successful in bringing back the urn.”
Having played just one Test in 14 months, Haddin feared he would never wear the baggy green again after stepping down early last year to focus on the health of his daughter.
“I wasn’t sure whether circumstances were going to allow me to get back into the game. But things in that front have worked in the right direction and allowed me to get back playing,” he said.
Haddin, and another 35-year-old in Victorian opener Chris Rogers, were surprise inclusions in the 16-man touring squad, drawing criticism that Australia does not have a plan for the future.
But Haddin argued the average age of the Test squad was 27.7 and there was merit in selecting players in their mid 30s.
Should he play, Haddin would be expected to shore up some patchy performances behind the stumps by Wade.
More importantly there will be pressure on him to add much needed middle-order nous to an Australian batting order that collapsed with pathetic regularity during the 4-0 Test series whitewash in India.
“I think the selectors have to be commended. What they have done is just pick the best team to win the Ashes. They haven’t thought about contingency plans or planning for the future,” he said.
First Posted 24 April, 2013 4:30PM AEDT
Tags: Ashes Test Series , Brad Haddin , Australia , Australian