Haddin returns to Aust for family reasons

Brad Haddin’s Ashes tour is over.

Veteran wicketkeeper Haddin is returning to Sydney for family reasons.

The touring party arrived in Northampton on Tuesday, preparing for a first-class fixture that starts on Friday in the Midlands town.

The 37-year-old Haddin, who was not expected to be recalled for next week’s fifth Test, left London on Tuesday night.

A Cricket Australia spokesperson confirmed his exit, asking the media to respect Haddin and his family’s privacy.

Haddin missed the second Test to spend time with his daughter in a London hospital.

Peter Nevill made an impressive Test debut at Lord’s in Haddin’s absence.

Given Haddin’s poor form with the bat over the past year, selectors opted to retain Nevill for the third and fourth Tests.

Coach Darren Lehmann called it the toughest cricket decision he’d had to make.

Former players Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne and Matthew Hayden were highly critical of the call.

Haddin remained with the 17-man squad for both games, playing a tour match last month against Derbyshire.

The consummate team man continued to work closely with Nevill, the 29-year-old he had mentored since the two became club and state teammates in 2008.

Haddin is yet to announce his Test retirement, but his cards have effectively been marked given Nevill’s ascension and age.

It’s an unbefitting end to any career, let alone somebody who spent 66 Tests behind the stumps for Australia.

“We certainly care about Brad and his family,” Lehmann said after the third Test.

“We’re really close as a group. We’ve talked about it openly.

“That would be the hardest decision I’ve had to make as a coach, or even as a player.

“We all love Hadds. The players love Hadds.

“He’s a ripper bloke – one of the best blokes I’ve ever coached, brilliant person, great family.”

It’s unclear whether Haddin will continue to play for NSW and the Sydney Sixers.

He is expected to make a quick transition into coaching when he does retire, a move England coach Trevor Bayliss would support.

“He would make a good coach,” Bayliss said of former charge Haddin before the Ashes.

“He’s got the respect of the players.

“And just his rapport with the players – it doesn’t matter whether it’s the older players or the younger players, they all gravitate to Hadds.”

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