Peter Nevill has been officially been retained for the third Ashes Test despite Brad Haddin being once again available for selection.
In a decision that in all likelihood ends the Test career of Haddin, selectors have stuck by the forced change they made at Lord’s when the veteran withdrew for family reasons and Nevill, 29, now has the chance to make the position his own after an impressive debut.
“Selector Rod Marsh and Darren Lehmann spoke to Brad Haddin during the tour game and told him their plan is that Peter Nevill will keep in this Test match,” Michael Clarke said. “Rod and ‘Boof’ came and spoke to me and told me what they were thinking.”
The decision was an awkward one given that the reason for Haddin’s absence in the second Test was not form related and had he not had to pull out, he would have been picked at Lord’s.
However, having won so compressively at the home of cricket, it was always going to difficult to change the team and with Nevill anointed as the wicketkeeper for the future it made sense as much as Clarke said it pained him to lose his long-time teammate.
“From the information I had I think they were going to pick Brad to play in the second Test if he was available, but I think that’s more of a question for Brad and the selectors to be honest,” Clarke said.
“It’s obviously a lot harder for me because I have that attachment to ‘Hadds’. I’ve grown up playing cricket with him, we’ve spent a lot of time together and I love the fact that he’s still here working hard.
“On the other hand Nev made the most of his opportunity in the second Test. I thought he batted really well and I thought he kept exceptionally well.
“So it’s a tough one when you sit in the middle, but that’s the way the selectors have gone and I respect their decision.”
Haddin has been the Australian No.1 since 2008 barring a 12-month period between 2012 and 2013 when he also left the team for family reasons and was usurped for a time by Matthew Wade.
Having regained his spot and been appointed vice-captain in the aftermath of Australia’s disastrous tour of India two years ago, he enjoyed a career renaissance, starring in the 2013-14 Ashes whitewash, figuring as the Test side won in South Africa to return to No.1 in the world, and then triumphing in the World Cup.
Haddin had struggled with the bat of late but even with his 38th birthday arriving in October, and with retirement on the horizon, Clarke said he hoped the veteran continued on.
“Yes, he still wants to play that’s for sure and he has a great relationship with Nev,” Clarke said. “So I think he sees his role over the last couple of days leading up to this Test is to help Nev as much as possible and they are really good friends so there’s certainly no lack of respect there.
“Hadds will certainly wish Nev all the best and hope he does well, and if there’s an injury or there’s another opportunity then I know he’ll be ready.
“I can’t be any more complimentary for what he’s done for the Australian team, the NSW team, as a player. He’s a great man Hadds, he’s been an awesome vice-captain. I’ve really loved having him as vice-captain and he’s performed exceptionally well.
“He’s done himself and his family really proud in the way that he’s represented Australia and NSW and I hope he keeps playing.”
Should Chris Rogers be cleared to play after recovering from an ear problem suffered at Lord’s, then Australia will take an unchanged team into the match at Edgbaston.