Lehmann and Smith pay tribute to Haddin


Australia coach Darren Lehmann and captain Steve Smith have paid tribute to retired wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, calling him a 'fantastic human being' and a 'terrific player'.

Haddin announced his retirement on Wednesday, one that most assumed was coming after he left the Ashes tour to be with his family. Already retired from the shorter formats, it was not out of the blue.

But Lehmann said he would miss Haddin's personality and advice, as one of the senior players, and gave credit to him on and off the field since taking over from Adam Gilchrist in 2008.

Lehmann said: "It's a sad day for Australian cricket, because he was a fantastic player, a fantastic mentor for a lot of young players. A great mentor for me as coach.

"He's a great bloke. I played against him as a youngster, (when I was) with South Australia, and saw him rise through the ranks and play some amazing knocks for Australia.

"Some of the catches and keeping he did over that period of time, in 66 Test matches, is an amazing achievement for him – but also (because of) what he went through personally.

"It's a credit to him and (wife) Karina and the kids. He's a fantastic human being and he'll be welcome in our changerooms all the time, because he's an absolute superstar."

Lehmann added of Haddin's efforts on the field: "He made some crucial runs for us in Ashes series, and in different series all round in all formats.

"For us, his keeping was exceptional, his batting was very good. It was a case of him being able to turn a game very quickly for you. That's what Gilchrist did exceptionally well as well.

"He's done a great job for Australia and he should be extremely proud of what he's achieved on and off the cricket field."

Smith, who took over the vice-captaincy from Haddin prior to his recent elevation to Test skipper, said he would miss a man who had played alongside him for most of his career, from New South Wales to the Baggy Green.

Smith said: "He's been a terrific player over a long period of time for Australia, certainly one of the best team men I've ever been around. He always put the team first in every aspect.

"Hopefully the person coming in and filling that job can do it really well for him.

"He's been a great mentor for me. I've learned so much off him, throughout (playing for) NSW. When I started there he was captain. I learned a lot off him.

"In the Australian set-up as well he was always took me under his wing and helped me develop as a player and as a person. I'm very thankful for that."