Adam Gilchrist’s illustrious career prevented Brad Haddin from making his Test debut until the age of 30 and, in turn, the New South Welshman has ensured that his own superiority has kept a flock of understudy wicketkeepers out of the Australian limelight.
However, after a disappointing first Ashes Test at Cardiff which led to questions over his place, the 37-year-old is now definitely ruled out of the Lord’s encounter with England for personal reasons.
His absence means Peter Nevill, at the age of 29, will become the 443rd cricketer selected to represent his country in Test cricket. But who is he?
A Victorian that moved to NSW in 2008, Nevill is a respected batsman Down Under. So much so that, even when Haddin returns from international duty, Nevill is retained in the side as a specialist batsman, although he does hand over the keepers’ gloves.
This isn’t the first Test squad the right-hander has been a part of either. He was called up to deputise for Matthew Wade on a 2012 tour of the West Indies the last time Haddin pulled out of a squad for personal reasons.
He wasn’t able to make his debut on that tour, although his exploits in the domestic season, where he scored 570 runs at 51.81, made him a more than respectable selection.
Even greater returns in the 2014/15 Sheffield Shield season – 764 runs, the eighth-most in the competition – saw him land a spot in touring party for the West Indies and England this year. His selection, alongside Adam Voges, was a result of a concerted effort from the Australian selectors to pick based on domestic prowess.
Two warm up games, one in each series, are all that Nevill has had to sink his teeth into and a top-score of 78 in a run-fest against Essex barely illustrates how well he will handle the fire of an Ashes debut.
He is, however, a well-regarded player in his own country and has captained a Cricket Australia Invitational XI against England on Alastair Cook’s last visit to the country, as well as leading New South Wales in Sheffield Shield action.
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