Former Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has joined the Australian team support staff as fielding coach until the end of 2019, Cricket Australia said Thursday.
Haddin replaces former Australia batsman Greg Blewett, who has taken up a position with the South Australian Cricket Association.
Haddin, 39, has coached the Australia A side and was an assistant coach during Australia’s tour of New Zealand earlier this year.
He also had a stint with Islamabad in the Pakistan Premier League.
His first assignment will be Australia’s two-Test tour to Bangladesh later this month.
“I grew up in an era of players like Andrew Symonds and Ricky Ponting who gave Australian cricket a real identity in the standards of world-class fielding,” Haddin said in a statement.
“I want to hold this group accountable to that kind of standard and I believe we have the talent to do that and I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Haddin played 66 Tests, taking 262 catches, and playing 126 one-day internationals, and 34 T20 Internationals for Australia before retiring in 2015.
Former Australia skipper Michael Clarke has advocated the recall of Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell in the England bating lineup ahead of the eagerly anticipated Ashes series Down Under in the latter half of the year.
Clarke took to social media to voice his opinion after England beat South Africa by 177 runs in Manchester to claim the four-match Test series 3-1.
“England look to be playing some really good cricket. Still believe they have some questions about their top three batting,” Clarke wrote on his Twitter account.
“Is Ian Bell available for the Ashes? Perfect No.3 for that team.”
“He would find whatever was required if he was picked for the Ashes,” Clarke wrote about Pietersen. “One player does not make a team but I do believe he is a big loss.”
With just over three months to go for the Ashes, we look at the pros and cons of recalling England’s former batting stalwarts.
Despite what looks like a comprehensive 3-1 win on paper over the Proteas, the English batting lineup still has multiple holes after a series in which both sets of batsmen failed to completely assert themselves.
Questions still remain over the roles of Keaton Jennings, Tom Westley and Dawid Malan in the England setup.
The Cambridge born Westley scored a fine half-century at the Oval Test but has failed to convert his three other starts in the number three role. Bell could slip into his old familiar role as England’s number three.
Likewise, Pietersen remains a perfect foil for the number five spot in the lineup with Malan’s struggles in the role evident with his combined total of 35 runs in four innings till now.
Both Pietersen and Bell have over a 100 Tests to their credit and as such their vital experience, especially in Australia could have an important bearing on the performance of the English batting.
Both batsmen have scored four centuries each against the Aussies. Pietersen’s highest Test score of 227 was achieved in Adelaide in the Ashes 2010-11 series while he also scored a magnificent 158 in the same venue in 2006.
Bell had a fabulous series in 2013 when the Aussies visited England where he scored three tons and two half-centuries.
Pietersen’s last Test in the whites of England was over three years ago in January, 2014 while Bell’s last Test was over two years ago in October, 2015.
With such a long absence from the English Test setup, it would be difficult for the two to slot right back into the fold.
Bell, captaining Warwickshire in the County Championship, has managed just 345 runs at an average of 24.64 this season and would need to do a lot better to stake a reclaim to his England spot.
Pietersen meanwhile has become a Twenty20 specialist globetrotting around the world in the various leagues of the shorter format. With no first-class cricket under his belt lately, his inclusion in the Test lineup would be somewhat of a stretch.
With Pietersen remaining a divisive figure in the English dressing room, it would be counter-productive to recall the maverick batsman into the fold.
At 37 years of age, the right-handed batsman’s selection would be stop-gap arrangement for the Joe Root led England as they look to build for the future.
Similarly Bell, who is now 35 would only be a temporary fix for the English as they look to get a settled batting lineup.
With younger players like Alex Hales still waiting in the wings it would be one-step forward, two-steps back for Root and the English selectors.
New Zealand stalwart and skipper Kane Williamson turns 27-year-old today as we wish him a happy birthday.
The right-handed batsman has been shining the Kiwi torch bright in the cricketing world with his 17 centuries and over 5000 runs in Tests.
Here are five things you probably did not know about baby-faced assassin.
The right-handed batsman has a twin brother named Logan who was born just minutes after the New Zealand skipper 27 years ago today. In fact, the twins were undiagnosed and were actually a surprise for the parents who already had three daughters.
The Williamsons were a sporting family with two of the daughters going on to represent New Zealand in volleyball while Kane and his twin brother took up the pursuit of cricket under the watchful eye of their father, Brett who had played club cricket in his younger days.
During New Zealands’s tour of the United Arab Emirates in 2014 to take on Pakistan, Williamson donated his entire match fees from the five-match One Day International (ODI) series to the victims and families of the deadly Peshawar attack on an Army school.
The Black Caps skipper and pacer Adam Milne made this sizable contribution to Pakistan batsman Younis Khan to hand over to the families back in Pakistan. Williamson’s men won the ODI series 3-2 along with plenty of Pakistani hearts.
The right-handed batsman has confessed to idolising Sachin Tendulkar when he was growing up. The influence of the Indian superstar on Williamson was so great that the Tauranga born man modelled his game on the legendary batsman.
It would have been a really proud moment for the diminutive Williamson when he scored a magnificent century on his Test debut against India in 2010 in front of his long time idol.
Rugby is not the first sport which comes to mind when one thinks of the Kiwi skipper but Williamson is not going to be left behind when it comes to the most popular sport in New Zealand.
The 27-year-old was an excellent fly-half in his school days where he also excelled in another sport you would not associate with the baby-faced Williamson, basketball. He was in fact voted as the most valuable player in the mid-northern junior secondary school tournament.
It would come to no one’s surprise to discover that the soft-spoken Williamson was the Head Prefect in his final year at Tauranga Boy’s College in 2008.
If cricket is a gentleman’s game, Williamson would still stand out among all for his gentle demeanour and high values.
The recipient of the 2016 Wisden Cricketer of the Year has carried on the leadership traits from his school days to leading the New Zealand Under-19 team in the World Cup in 2008 when he was just 17. The Black Caps would bow out in the semi-finals against the eventual winners, Virat Kohli’s India.