Clarke admits personal struggle in dropping ‘best pal’ Haddin for Gabba Test

Updated: Oct 30, 2012, 15:15 PM IST

Sydney: Australia captain Michael Clarke has admitted he found it tough on a personal level to drop best friend Brad Haddin for the first Test match against South Africa at Gabba, Brisbane, but claimed Mathew Wade’s selection was purely on merit.

Clarke said Haddin’s international career is still not over, and he is next line to take over the wicketkeeping position if Wade gets injured.

“I have known Brad Haddin longer than just about any other player in Australian cricket. We first played against each other in club cricket when I was 17 and have been training buddies for a decade through our NSW and Australian careers,” Clarke wrote in his column for a website.

“So, being part of the selection panel that dropped him from the Test team to include Matt Wade was really tough for me personally, particularly knowing how ill Brad’s daughter Mia has been,” he further wrote.

“But I made it clear to the players from the moment I was appointed a selector that my personal feelings would never influence any decisions on players,” he added.

Clarke further said: “The only criteria will always be what’s best for the team and so no matter how close I may be to Brad, the five-man panel decided unanimously that Matt should be in the team for the first Test against South Africa, beginning in Brisbane on Friday week.”

“Sport is all about opportunity, taking the chance when it presents. Matt did that in emphatic fashion during our last series in the West Indies, scoring a match-changing century in the final Test when we were in trouble,” he added.

“This does not mean the door has been closed on Brad. It has been made clear to him that if there is an injury he is the next in line. And if he keeps batting the way he has been I see no reason why he can`t push for selection as a batsman,” he concluded.