Lehmann: Haddin’s form didn’t merit recall

Australia

Australia head coach Darren Lehmann has hit back at those who said he left Brad Haddin out in the cold unfairly, saying that the veteran wicketkeeper's recent form did not allow for a recall for the third Ashes Test.

Haddin had withdrawn ahead of the second Test at Lord's to be with his sick daughter, and Peter Nevill thus made his debut. When Nevill was retained for Edgbaston, despite Haddin being available again, it caused much uproar from former Aussie players.

But Lehmann said he couldn't drop Nevill, who had taken seven catches at Lord's and scored 45 with the bat, because Haddin's form had been poor even before withdrawing from Lord's. He added that it was one of the toughest decisions he'd ever made.

When asked if the team was unhappy with him over the decision, Lehmann said: "No, we're really close as a group. We've talked about it openly.

"Let's make it perfectly clear that Brad has been a brilliant cricketer for Australia for a long period of time and that would be the hardest decision I've had to make as a coach, or even as a player.

"The cold hard facts are he's played the last 12 Test matches and made 250 runs at 15, with 16 bowleds out of 21. So it comes down to performance. I know there's been a big hoo-hah about 'family first', well we still have that.

"We had Ryan Harris missing a tour to the West Indies with no guarantee he was going to play the first Test here – we didn't know he was going to retire obviously.

"David Warner missed Zimbabwe for the birth of his child, no guarantees he was going to play one-day cricket. I know there's been a very unbalanced view from a lot of people about it.

"We certainly care about Brad and his family, we had to make a decision on what we thought was the best XI for this particular game and Pete did a good job at Lord's so it was very hard to change that side and he did a good job in this game.

"That's a really tough decision to make – we love Hadds, we all love Hadds, the players love Hadds. So everyone's going to have different emotions with it but that's part of professional sport and we try and deal with it as best as we possibly can."

Lehmann added that Haddin himself understood the decision, and had been helping Nevill as much as possible:  "I can't speak highly enough of how he's been with Pete and he's taken over the wicketkeeping coaching role as well as trying to do his own stuff to keep ready.

"Because as you know last time we were here Graham Manou played because Brad broke his finger, so he has to be ready to play just in case.

"He's a ripper bloke, one of the best blokes I've ever coached, brilliant person, great family."

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