By Nick Mulvenney
SYDNEY, Oct 29 Australia wicketkeeper Brad
Haddin's test career appeared to be drawing to a close on Monday
when he was left out of the squad for the first match of next
month's series against South Africa.
The combative 35-year-old, who played his 43rd test in the
last match of Australia's 4-0 sweep of India in January, has
been replaced by Matt Wade in the 12-man party for the Nov. 9-13
match against the number one ranked Proteas in Brisbane.
Haddin, whose batting average has slipped to 35.82 over the
last couple of years, gave way to 24-year-old Wade for the tour
of West Indies earlier this year when he was forced to return
home to be with his seriously ill daughter.
Wade, who was left out of a domestic match at the weekend
because of an injured thumb, grabbed his chance with both hands
in the Caribbean and boasts a batting average of 39.60 from his
"It was a tough decision, there was a lot of talk about
that," skipper Michael Clarke, who sits on the selection panel,
told a news conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
"They're two very good wicketkeepers and whichever way we
went, the team was going to be fine.
"Our decision was Matthew Wade, I know he'll do a great job.
He's been a wonderful player for Australia in his brief career,
he scored a 100 in his last test match and he deserves this
Clarke said Haddin would remain in contention for the
The squad was announced just hours after Haddin's inspired
captaincy had helped the Sydney Sixers crushed the Highveld
Lions by 10 wickets to win the Champions League Twenty20 final
in South Africa.
The other notable omission was 19-year-old fast bowler Pat
Cummins, who took seven wickets in his only test against South
Africa in Johannesburg last year and also featured in the Sydney
"We didn't feel as though Pat Cummins was ready to play in a
test match," chief selector John Inverarity said.
"We're very keen for him to play a Sheffield Shield match
soon and he's likely to come onto the radar for perhaps the
third test in Perth."
In his absence, quicks Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, James
Pattinson and Mitchell Starc will compete for three spots in the
team - unless Clarke decides to go with a four-pronged pace
Clarke, whose instinct is always to include a spinner, said
it would be "silly" to make a decision on the composition of the
bowling unit before assessing the conditions at the Gabba.
"We are lucky to have four very good fast bowlers but we
also have a good spinner who's had a lot of success for
Australia," he said.
Nathan Lyon, the latest in a string of players Australia
have tried out to replace Shane Warne since the spin-bowling
great retired, made an impressive start to his test career last
year but has recently hit a run of poor form.
"We have been concerned about Nathan's form but he has
performed very well for Australia and we're hoping that in the
10 or 11 days until the test, he recaptures his old form," said
The series begins at the Gabba on Friday week before tests
at the Adelaide Oval (Nov. 22-26) and the WACA in Perth (Nov.
Squad: Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Ed Cowan,
Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Matthew Wade, Peter
Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Nathan
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Julian Linden)