Australian coach Darren Lehmann and skipper Steven Smith had nothing but good to say about Haddin after he announced his retirement from international cricket at the age of 37. Haddin, who had hung up his boots from ODI’s in the 2015 world cup, became the fifth straight member from the Ashes squad of 2015 after Ryan Harris, Chris Rogers, Michael Clarke and Shane Watson to retire. Smith thanked the veteran for being a ‘great mentor’ at New South Wales as well as the national side.
“He’s been a terrific player over a long period of time for Australia, certainly one of the best team men I’ve ever been around. He always put the team first in every aspect. Hopefully the person coming in and filling that job can do it really well for him. He’s been a great mentor for me. I’ve learned so much off him, throughout (playing for) NSW. When I started there, he was captain. I learned a lot off him. In the Australian set-up as well, he always took me under his wing and helped me develop as a player and as a person. I’m very thankful for that,” Smith was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
Lehmann termed Haddin as a ‘good bloke’ and also was impressed to see how he rose up the ranks and made a mark for himself. He also acknowledged the contribution of Haddin’s wife Karina and daughter for staying with him in tough conditions. He was forced to leave the West Indies tour of 2012 when his daughter was diagnosed with cancer.
“It’s a sad day for Australian cricket, because he was a fantastic player, a fantastic mentor for a lot of young players. A great mentor for me as coach. He’s a great bloke. I played against him as a youngster, (when I was) with South Australia, and saw him rise through the ranks and play some amazing knocks for Australia. Some of the catches and keeping he did over that period of time, in 66 Test matches, is an amazing achievement for him but also (because of) what he went through personally. It’s a credit to him and (wife) Karina and the kids,” Lehmann said.
Clearly this marks the end of an yet another era of Australian cricket which had a Herculean task exiting the shadow of greats like Warne, Hayden, Ponting, Mc Grath and Gilchirist, who were simply head and shoulders above the rest. Unlike the previous batch of Aussie cricketers who believed in a flamboyant and fearless brand of cricket, these players adopted a more cautious and persistent approach. Success didn’t come easy for these guys, unlike their predecessors, but still they didn’t dip under the radar and soon got back to winning ways.