Birmingham: Australia selection chief Rodney Marsh said Wednesday he had no option but to leave wicket-keeper Brad Haddin out of the third Ashes Test against England at Edgbaston.
Haddin, the vice-captain, has been overlooked in favour of the younger Peter Nevill after the 37-year-old pulled out of the second Test at Lords to be with his sick daughter Mia.
Nevill, 29, took seven catches at Lords and made 45 during an impressive Test debut at Lords as Australia thrashed England by 405 runs to level the five-match Ashes series at 1-1.
Although both keepers played against Derbyshire in last week tour match, it was Nevill who was behind the stumps, with Haddin, again available for Test selection, playing as a batsman only.
Marsh — one of Australias greatest wicket-keeper/batsmen and coach Darren Lehmann, the two on-tour selectors, opted to stick with Nevill for the third Test, a decision which led to intense criticism from several former Australia internationals including Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Shane Warne and Ian Healy.
But Marsh told the cricket.com.au website on Wednesday — the first of the third Test — that Haddins form did not warrant a recall.
“Hes a fantastic player with a fantastic attitude but hes averaging 15 in his last 12 Test matches,” said Marsh.
“We needed runs down there, he didnt keep well — and hell admit that — at Cardiff (where England won the first Test by 169 runs) and the new boy did very, very well at Lords, so in my way of thinking, we didnt have an option.
“Its very hard to change a winning side.”
Former Australia captain Ponting, who played 168 Tests, was unimpressed after current skipper Michael Clarke confirmed Haddins omission on Tuesday.
“I am disappointed with the decision to leave Brad Haddin out of the Test team for Edgbaston,” he said in a column for The Australian newspaper.
“He made the only and right decision to be with his daughter Mia who was very ill in hospital and missed that match.
“I know it would have been a hard call for him, he has been a single-minded and determined servant of Australian cricket, but he rightfully put his family first and has paid the price for it.”
Haddins daughter reportedly suffers from neuroblastoma — a rare form of cancer that attacks children aged five years or younger. (AFP)