At age 37, Brad Haddin’s international cricket career will end soon.
The form of Haddin’s understudy Peter Nevill in a resounding 405-run win at Lord’s, which squared the Ashes series at 1-1, might well accelerate the process.
It would be understandable for there to be a degree of competitiveness and unease, even though the pair are good friends.
It would also not surprise if Nevill’s keeping was the last thing on Haddin’s mind in the past few days, having withdrawn from the second Test due to family reasons.
And yet, Haddin remained one of Nevill’s greatest sources of support as the 29-year-old tried to wrap his head around Test cricket.
“Even this week, he’s been great where you’d completely understand if his mind was elsewhere,” Nevill said.
“He and (wife) Karina sent a bottle of champagne to my room, just to say congratulations on making your Test debut.
“He’s just a genuinely lovely person.”
Nevill’s polished 45 with the bat and seven dismissals with the gloves, an Australian record on Test debut, creates a tough question for national selectors.
Is Haddin an automatic recall for the third Test that starts on July 29 at Edgbaston?
The pair will play together in Australia’s three-day clash with Derbyshire, beginning on Thursday.
Both men are expected to take the gloves during the game, but Nevill dismissed the suggestion it was a genuine keep-off.
“I wouldn’t have thought so. I was picked on this tour as Brad’s back-up and I don’t think anything has changed in that respect,” Nevill said.
Deciding who deserves to keep in the third Test looms as Darren Lehmann and Rod Marsh’s only conundrum this week, with confidence growing that Chris Rogers will be fit.
Team medical staff are still investigating the cause of an alarming bout of dizziness that forced Rogers to retire hurt during the second Test.
However, they are confident it is an ear issue and not concussion-related.
“Chris was not scheduled to play in the tour match against Derbyshire, so he has time to continue resting ahead of the Test,” team doctor Peter Brukner said.
“As a precaution, he’ll be reviewed by the specialist in London again on Wednesday morning before re-joining the touring party.”
Pacemen Mitchell Johnson, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc will all skip the tour game and remain in London on Tuesday, when the team shifts base to the Midlands.
Nevill described keeping to Johnson as “a lot more fun than batting against him”.
“Him and Starcy both at times bowled very quick,” he said.
Potential Australian XI for clash with Derbyshire: David Warner, Shaun Marsh, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), Adam Voges, Mitch Marsh, Peter Nevill, Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon.