Eight months ago Brad Haddin left the tour of the Caribbean to be with his very ill daughter.
Matthew Wade then took the reigns as Australia’s number one keeper by scoring a hundred in testing conditions in the third Test against the West Indies. When Wade was picked over Haddin for the Test series this summer, his career looked all but over.
But good form during the Sheffield Shield, Big Bash League and a controversial decision to rest Wade (one of four Australian Test players rested from the ODI side) has Haddin back in the One Day International line-up and has a chance to stake his claim for a Test recall.
He couldn’t have done better in his first game back. It wasn’t Haddin’s batting that would please the selectors and coach but it was his glove work.
Haddin showed no signs of what was a mere shadow of himself last season, emphasised when he took one of the catches of the season late in the Sri Lankan batting innings. Dinesh Chandimal, who had been batting well for 73, edged one wide of Haddin’s right side when he dived and took a spectacular catch where he was almost completely parallel to the ground.
Matthew Wade, who was controversially rested for the first two ODI’s, has been in blistering form with the bat, but his glove work has been ordinary.
Yes, he is only 24 years old and has a long way to go, but with such a huge year of cricket coming up which includes a Test series in India, the Ashes in England, the Champions Trophy in England and the Ashes back home, Wade will need to improve his glove work dramatically.
This comes after John Inverarity stated that if they were to play two keepers, Wade would be the keeper and Haddin would play just as a batsman.
That could change quickly if Haddin continues his good form with the gloves and bat and if Wade can’t improve quickly enough.
It is likely that Australia will take two keepers to either India or England, but they should only have one keeper playing in the starting XI and not have one as just a batsman.
We know that the selectors have constantly slated Wade as the number one keeper, but this can change by the end of the Australian summer.
The selectors will have to examine closely the two keepers’ performances during the Tests, ODI and domestic games and determine who to play come India and the Ashes.
But right now, Brad Haddin’s career is far from over and he could well be on his way to the Ashes in July.