Darren Lehmann regrets selecting Shane Watson and Brad Haddin in 2015 Ashes squad
Australia head coach Darren Lehmann believes he made a mistake by choosing all-rounder Shane Watson and wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin in the Test squad for the 2015 Ashes series in England claiming that he allowed sentiments to take precedence over performance.
It's the season of autobiographies in Australian cricket with former skipper Michael Clarke and fast bowler Mitchell Johnson coming up with their own, revealing rather unpleasant anecdotes of dressing room incidents and now, Lehmann, in his own upcoming book titled ‘Coach’ has also opened a can of worms by suggesting that Watson and Haddin shouldn't have even been in the Ashes squad or the squad for the West Indies Test series that preceded the contest against England.
Looking back in hindsight, Lehmann’s words seem justified as Watson and Haddin struggled with the former scoring 30 and 19 in the one and only Test he played while also proving ineffective with the ball whereas Haddin scored 29 in his two innings before leaving home for Australia to look after his ill daughter in acrimonious circumstances.
Revealing that he had a personal chat with the pair seeking assurances over their performances, Lehmann said that he let emotions get the better of him.
“Are you going to get some runs or are you going to retire?,” Lehmann said revealing his words to the pair. “They both said they would get some runs, but I knew in my heart of hearts they had run their race at Test level,” Lehmann explains in his book.
“I admit I did allow myself to be blinded a little through sentiment and a belief they could turn around their declining form. Given my time again my preference as just one member of the NSP (national selection panel) would have been to look beyond Watson and Haddin for that Ashes series, but circumstances dictated otherwise.”
A slew of retirements post the Ashes
Watson and Haddin did retire after the Ashes, along with skipper Michael Clarke, opener Chris Rogers and fast bowler Ryan Harris as the visitors lost the Ashes 3-2 with Haddin’s retirement, in particular, creating a storm as many felt that the Australian team management were inconsiderate to Haddin’s personal issues. However, Lehmann reiterated that he shouldn’t have been selected at all in the first place based on performances.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing,” Lehmann told Fairfax Media “I love ‘em. I still love them. But if you were looking at raw, hard performances leading into that we probably shouldn’t have taken them. But we did and that’s a mistake that I made.”
“In the case of Brad Haddin what it boiled down to was, first and foremost, a selection issue, as we should never have taken him to the West Indies and the United Kingdom in the first place, something I think he, too, now acknowledges,” he added. “I thought he could continue to perform to the required level in the Caribbean and during the Ashes series but, with my experience, I should have known better.”