Image courtesy of: The Guardian
Haddin will be hoping third time’s the charm
At 35-years-old, Australia wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin, who has also been named as the Test team’s new vice-captain, is by far one of the oldest players in the national team at the moment, however, the veteran has announced that age is the least of his concerns with the back-to-back Ashes series set to begin in just over a months time.
Historically speaking, many of Australia’s legendary wicketkeepers have retired at around the 35 or 36 age mark, but Haddin has vowed to defy the age barrier and prove that he is still capable of being an asset to the national team.
Just because Australia’s wicketkeepers tend to wind down and announce their retirements in their mid to late thirties does not mean that Haddin has to follow the same path.
Instead, he will be looking at the example of England’s Alec Stewart, who was able to don the gloves and represent his country till he was 40.
“The older you get, you understand more about your game,” Haddin said. “If you talk to guys like Rod Marsh, your technique and the rhythm of the keeper you are comes later in your career. I’m in as good a shape as anyone here. To me it’s all about challenging yourself to be better. The day I don’t want to challenge myself any more then I’ll walk away.”
Now that Haddin has regained his normal wicketkeeping spot ahead of 25-year-old Matthew Wade, who had replaced him since Australia’s tour of the Caribbean last April, he intends on securing it, but, Haddin knows that Wade will take his place if he fails to perform during the Ashes.
“No one’s guaranteed to be in every Test,” he said. “You’ve got to perform. This is the Australian cricket team. It’s not the under-15Bs down the road.”
Haddin has a rock solid record when playing against England and during the 2009 Ashes, he was one of Australia’s top performers with the bat, scoring 278 runs, which included one century, at an average of 46.33.
However, during the 2010-11 Ashes campaign, Haddin’s average slipped down to 45, while his runs tally increased to 360.
With England winning both the 2009 and 2010-11 Ashes series, Haddin is determined to lead his side to victory this year so that he can taste Ashes glory for the first time in his career and bring the coveted urn back home to Australia.
“This is the most exciting thing for an Australian cricketer,” Haddin said. “There’s no better theatre or stage than an Ashes campaign.
“You want to challenge yourself against the best. And if you are successful as a group in this, it is something you remember forever.”
Since Haddin did not play in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), he, along with all the other squad members that did not participate either, have spent most of their time at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane, where they have been training with Dukes balls and have also been using the ProBatter system, which simulates the action of any bowler.
“I’ve had a pretty good hit on [ProBatter] in the last couple of weeks, it took a bit to get used to,” Haddin said. “It’s not as realistic as facing somebody, but it’s something a bit different and if it helps you a little bit, well it’s all worthwhile. It’s all about trying different things and challenging yourself to be a better cricketer, and if that works for some guys, well that’s great, if they want to spend more time in the nets to hone their skills, that’s well and good too. It’s just about having all these things available to challenge yourself to be better.”