A BATTING WITH BIMAL BREAKING REPORT: It was hard for me to leave Brad Haddin out of the Test squad, admits Michael Clarke

Clarke noted that the decision to drop his “training buddy” still hurts him

Australia Test captain Michael Clarke has admitted that the decision to drop veteran wicketkeeper Brad Haddin from the squad for the first Test against South Africa was extremely difficult and painful.

Clarke noted that Matthew Wade had been selected due to his outstanding form across all three formats in the past few months, but added that Haddin would be next in line for the wicketkeeper position should Wade fall victim to an injury.

Writing in his column for News.com.au, Clarke said: “I have known Brad Haddin longer than just about any other player in Australian cricket. We first played against each other in club cricket when I was 17 and have been training buddies for a decade through our NSW and Australian careers, so, being part of the selection panel that dropped him from the Test team to include Matt Wade was really tough for me personally, particularly knowing how ill Brad’s daughter Mia has been, but I made it clear to the players from the moment I was appointed a selector that my personal feelings would never influence any decisions on players.”

Clarke stated that the national selectors had decided to choose Wade since he had been a huge asset for the team as of late, and that they wanted to do what was best for the country.

“The only criteria will always be what’s best for the team and so no matter how close I may be to Brad, the five-man panel decided unanimously that Matt should be in the team for the first Test against South Africa, beginning in Brisbane on Friday week. Sport is all about opportunity, taking the chance when it presents. Matt did that in emphatic fashion during our last series in the West Indies, scoring a match-changing century in the final Test when we were in trouble, this does not mean the door has been closed on Brad. It has been made clear to him that if there is an injury he is the next in line. And if he keeps batting the way he has been I see no reason why he can’t push for selection as a batsman,” Clarke added.

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