AS A wicketkeeper, Brad Haddin’s craft relies upon sleight of hand, the ruthlessness to strike like a cobra when a batsman least expects it and a mental toughness to remain focused when others might have dozed off, so it’s surprising to learn he freely passed on the tricks of a tough old trade to a player threatening his place in the national side.
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Haddin, 34, was well aware he had several rivals – his younger NSW teammate Peter Nevill included – breathing down his neck to assume his mantle as Australia’s keeper. However, rather than dig moats around his patch, he was happy to share tips to help his rival fulfil his potential. ”It’s easy for me to give advice and to help any cricketer,” Haddin said. ”If I can help someone be a better cricketer whether they’re going for my spot or not, life goes on … I’m happy to pass on any information to help them because it can only help Australian cricket and NSW.”

By his admission, Haddin was dropped – not rested – from the Australian team during last summer’s one-day tournament.

”The bottom line is [that] the easiest way to get selected for the team is actually to take the decision out of the hands of the selectors and perform,” he said. ”I’ve always thought about making sure I’m prepared the best I possibly can be and the selection part is the easy part. If you are are performing you will get picked and if you are not up to scratch, you won’t.”

Haddin said it was also easy to help ”Nev” improve because he possessed an unmistakable hunger. ”He’s getting better every year and his desire to learn impresses me,” Haddin said. ”He wants to learn, he wants to get better and I like that because I believe every time you turn up to training you have to want to get better. If you look at someone like Ricky Ponting, it’s inspiring to see that despite all he’s achieved he turns up to training with the aim to be a better cricketer. And I see that in Nev, he’s getting better and better every year.”

Nevill, 26, said as a young cricketer he read many books by the game’s best players to gain insights. He said he gained a complete education since he left Victoria in 2008 and linked up with Haddin as his understudy at NSW and as a teammate at Eastern Suburbs.

”Brad has a wealth of knowledge and a good eye when it comes to wicketkeeping technique and wicketkeeping coaching,” he said. ”We’ve done a lot of our work together during the pre-season and that has been a real plus for me.”

Nevill, who was sent to the West Indies as Australia’s reserve keeper to Matt Wade when Haddin was forced to return to Sydney because of his daughter Mia’s battle with cancer, said his mentor had also taught him a tough hide was as crucial in their profession as soft hands.

”Brad is very resilient,” Nevill said. ”He’s quite confident and headstrong and has a confidence in his own ability. He’s been a role model around the group in terms of his mental toughness and the way in which he prepares. What I’ve learned from Brad and from watching the guys on the West Indies tour was how much work they have done to get there.”

While Nevill finished last season as the Blues’ leading run-scorer with an average of 67, Haddin said after scoring a superb century against Tasmania last week that it was important for anyone in his position to realise keeping was the foundation to their game. ”As much as it was good to get the runs, my number one job is to be a wicketkeeper and I couldn’t be happier with where that’s at.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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