ASHES hero Brad Haddin is in the form of his career and his position as Australia’s first choice wicketkeeper is safe “as long as he wants it”.
That’s according to former teammate, close family friend and Queanbeyan Cricket Club president Peter Solway who believes the Queanbeyan junior’s form has gone to another level this summer.
Haddin took on the role of Australia’s savour during the side’s 5-0 Ashes whitewash of England over the summer, repeatedly saving the baggy green from disaster after the top order failed to fire.
It’s a far cry from 12 months ago when the free scoring strokemaker was seemingly out of favour with Australia’s selectors behind younger keepers Matthew Wade and Tim Paine.
And Solway said he saw no reason why the 36-year-old would feel the urge to step aside anytime soon given his brilliant recent form.
“I think that [wicketkeeper’s] spot is his as long as he wants it,” Solway said. “So I think he’s going to be keeping those [younger] guys waiting in the wings for a couple of years yet.
“Why would he go out now when he’s playing so well?”
“I know he was very determined after a couple of Ashes defeats to get on the winning side. I think he had a pretty steely determination right through the series to make an impact and I think that’s what he did.”
Solway played alongside Haddin at ANU for three seasons after the two switched from Queanbeyan to the university club for the 1993/94 season.
Since then, Solway has remained close with Haddin whose parents still live locally.
“He just looks like he understands his game and that he’s confident in his game,” Solway said of the veteran gloveman. “That’s the biggest thing with Brad and his keeping has gone to another level as well. I think he’s playing better now than he ever has.
“[Given his age] that’s a testament to the amount of work he’s putting in to keep in tip top shape to do what he’s doing.”
Haddin’s Queanbeyan career saw him play two seasons of lower grade cricket with the club in 1991/92 and 1992/93 after moving to the area from Gundagai.
Solway said he remembered Haddin as a “little tacker” when he came into first grade who nonetheless made his mark as ANU’s first choice keeper at the age of just 15.
“We had a big West Indian fast bowler in those days Ken McLeod and Brad used to have difficulty jumping up and keeping to his bouncers,” Solway recalled.
“He was a little fella back then so he’s certainly come a long way since his start in first grade.”