Sydney: Australia greats Ricky Ponting and Ian Healy say axing wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for the third Ashes Test against England starting today is a mistake, while Matthew Hayden called it “outrageous”.
Haddin, the vice-captain, has been overlooked in favour of the younger Peter Nevill, who impressed on his international debut in the second Test at Lord’s after the 37-year-old pulled out to be with his sick daughter Mia.
Former captain Ponting, who played 168 Tests, said the decision did not sit well with him.
“I am disappointed with the decision to leave Brad Haddin out of the Test team for Edgbaston,” he said in a column for The Australian newspaper, adding that he was “the heart and soul of the team”.
“All reports suggest he would have played at Lord’s but he made the only and right decision to be with his daughter Mia who was very ill in hospital and missed that match.
“I know it would have been a hard call for him, he has been a single-minded and determined servant of Australian cricket, but he rightfully put his family first and has paid the price for it.
“I know he won’t complain about being dropped. He is a tough character but it doesn’t sit right with me.”
The decision was made by on-tour selector Rod Marsh, himself one of Australia’s greatest wicketkeepers, and coach Darren Lehmann, according to captain Michael Clarke.
Haddin’s daughter reportedly suffers from neuroblastoma — a rare form of cancer that attacks children aged five years or younger.
Ponting added that he feared Test cricket was now over for Haddin and “I am a little concerned that the team may miss him more than they expect. I hope I am wrong”.