Former Australian keepers back underfire Haddin

Sydney: Former Australian stumpers have backed under-fire Brad Haddin, whose lacklustre performance behind the stumps combined with his lack of runs have raised questions over his place in the team.

Haddin had a difficult time behind the stumps in the second Test when he dropped Indian opener Gautam Gambhir on day three. He also spilled a sharp edge from Sachin Tendulkar which was caught on the rebound by Mike Hussey at slip.

The 34-year-old averaged just over 20 in the past 12 months with the bat and there are talks of replacing him with Matthew Wade or Peter Nevill, in absence of his heir apparent Tim Paine who is out injured indefinitely.

However, Australian team fielding coach Steve Rixon, who has worked regularly with Haddin over the years, backed the wicketkeeper and said there was no cause for alarm.

"None at all," Rixon said was quoted as saying in the `Sydney Morning Herald`.

"To me, he got his act together in the [Melbourne] Test. He`s not a concern at this stage. We`re obviously monitoring every move but he`s going fine."

Asked if Haddin`s application was solid, Rixon said: "Yes, and that will never change, certainly while I`m around. He`s motivated and yesterday`s win was a big plus, a big relief all around to get ourselves into that situation. It`s all good."

Former Test keeper and NSW selector Brain Taber admitted Haddin has not been at his best of late but said he would wait till the end of the series.

"A keeper`s allowed to put one down every now and then," Taber said.

"But certainly his general work hasn`t been up to its usual high standard of late. I think I`d rather look at his performances at the end of the series because he`s got a great record and hasn`t done much wrong."

Taber said Haddin`s form as a batsman was probably a bigger concern than his wicketkeeping.

"He should get more runs because he`s a much better batsman than we`ve seen lately," Taber said.

"He`s got a couple of scores but I think a lot of times in the past 12 months he`s given his wicket away too easily. All in all, I think `Hadds` is all right. I don`t think there`s a lot of pressure on him, particularly with young Tim Paine out of action for the season. I don`t think there`s any cause to look for anybody else at this stage.

"His work ethic is great. He works hard, practises hard. So I think it`s just a stage he`s going through at the moment. It`s not as though he`s slackened off or anything. He`ll work through it, I`m sure."


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