Brad Haddin broke the Test record for the most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in a series during the Ashes 2013. He may have revived his Test career with the more youthful Matthew Wade waiting on the bench. Nishad Pai Vaidya looks at Haddin’s feat.
In March 2012, Brad Haddin’s cricketing career was at crossroads. Having lost his spot to Matthew Wade in the limited-overs squad, Haddin flew home from the Caribbean due to personal reasons and put his Test berth in jeopardy. Wade only went on to impress the selectors — scoring a crucial hundred in the third Test to seal victory against the West Indies. The more youthful Wade had found his spot in the Australian setup and was to hold on to it until the tour of India in early 2013. Meanwhile, Haddin fought his way back to the one-day side and then finally made the cut for the crucial Ashes series as Michael Clarke’s deputy and the first-choice gloveman.
During the Ashes 2013, Haddin has been splendid with the gloves. Generally, he would be accustomed to the ball coming through to him at a good pace on those typical Australian tracks. Many stumpers have struggled to come to terms with the movement in England, but Haddin has adjusted well and tuned his movement according to the conditions. For a 35-year-old, competing against a younger keeper, the pressure was immense and he has delivered. In the process, he has broken the Test record for the most dismissals in a series. Here is the list of the most dismissals in a Test series:
South Africa vs England 1995-96
England vs South Africa 1998
It is quite interesting that all these feats have come in series involving England — three of which have been recorded in the United Kingdom. Haddin has surpassed Rodney Marsh’s record of 28 dismissals in a series, which was set during the Ashes 1982-83. The remarkable thing is that there are no stumpings in Haddin’s tally. Although, Lyon has taken a few wickets, Haddin has had only edges come his way and hasn’t had the opportunity to knock down the stumps.
In the first Test at Trent Bridge, Haddin wasn’t at his best, but improved tremendously as the series progressed. He did contribute to the team’s cause with the bat and nearly took them home in a thrilling finale. His batting form did not match the expectations later on, but has been splendid with the gloves. It is a popular belief that when a ‘keeper goes unnoticed, he has done a clean job. As one of the commentators pointed out, Haddin has been particularly good down the leg-side. He has moved across well and has thrown himself at those possible chances, converting those into successful ones on a few occasions.
However, in the lead-up to the last Test at The Oval, Haddin expressed that some of the Australian batsmen needed runs, including himself. Keeping that aside, his glovework does inspire confidence and it would make sense to retain him for the return Ashes later this year. Wade is waiting to pounce on the opportunity and Haddin would be on his toes. During the last Australian summer, Wade’s keeping was under the scanner as Ian Healy commented that it wasn’t up to the mark. Surely, Haddin’s effort would make the former Australian wicket-keeper proud.