Family man Haddin also calls time on careerArchive
SYDNEY: Australia wicket-keeper Brad Haddin announced his retirement from first class cricket on Wednesday, following Michael Clarke, Shane Watson and Chris Rogers in stepping down from Tests in the wake of the Ashes series defeat.
The pugnacious 37-year-old, who retired from one day cricket after Australia’s World Cup triumph earlier this year, kept wickets in 66 Tests, scoring 3,266 runs at an average of 32.98 and taking 262 catches with eight stumpings.
“I’ve had an outstanding career, I’ve enjoyed every minute, and in the end the decision was not a hard one,” Haddin, who played 17 seasons for New South Wales, told a media conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). “Once you’ve lost that will to get up and do the things you need to do to play for Australia, it’s time to walk away. I’ve had a great run and I couldn’t be happier with the way I’m leaving the game.”
An assured pair of hands behind the stumps, Haddin’s runs were often extremely valuable to his country coming as they did in counter-attacking tail-end partnerships.
Haddin, renowned as a talkative, tough competitor, played his last match in the opening Test of the recently concluded Ashes series against England in July and returned home last month for family reasons.
He missed the second Test at Lord’s to be with his sick daughter and failed to regain his place in the side from Peter Nevill for the remainder of the series, which England won 3-2.
“I came to the realisation, probably after Lord’s, that I’d lost that fight to continue,” he said. “I was all about trying to make myself the best cricketer I could be every time I walked out on the training paddock and I probably lost that hunger from there.”
With Adam Gilchrist his predecessor, Haddin had to wait until he was 30 until he played his first Test against West Indies in 2008.
He lost his place in the side in 2012 when he stood down from the tour of West Indies for personal reasons but returned in early 2013.
Appointed vice-captain for the home Ashes series against England, he surpassed 50 in six of his eight innings and took 22 catches as Australia won back the urn with a 5-0 sweep.
“The 5-0 one was an amazing series, not just the cricket but the whole theatre around the country, how everyone embraced that campaign and the way we were playing,” he said. “But the highlight for me is the support you get in the good and the bad. The support me and my family have had over the last couple of years from the Australian public is amazing.”
Haddin, who will continue to play some domestic Twenty20 cricket, said he had confidence Australia’s Test future was bright despite the loss of so many experienced players.
“It’s an exciting time, I think we can cover all the retirements, we’ve got a great leader in Steve Smith,” he said. “He’s going to be a great leader for a long period of time. Australian cricket is always healthy.”
A reminder of his fiercely partisan nature came when he paid tribute to his former coaches at New South Wales, Steve Rixon and Trevor Bayliss.
“This is going to hurt,” he said. “Trevor’s the England coach now and after what he did to us I don’t really want to talk about him too much.”
Only three Australian wicket-keepers played more Tests than Haddin: Ian Healy (119), Adam Gilchrist (96) and Rod Marsh (96).
And his 270 dismissals as a wicketkeeper sit behind only Gilchrist (416), Healy (395) and Marsh (355) for Australia.
Haddin’s Test batting average of 32.99 is bettered only by Gilchrist (47.61) among Australian wicketkeepers who have played more than a dozen Tests.
Haddin topped the series batting averages in Australia’s 2013-14 whitewash of England with 493 runs at 61.63.
Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2015
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