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Nevill to get the nod

Peter Nevill is firming as the selectors’ choice for the wicket-keeping role in the Third Ashes Test beginning tomorrow night at Edgbaston.

Nevill’s impending selection could spell the end for Brad Haddin’s international career, following a strong debut from the Melbourne product.

Reports are circulating that Nevill is a certainty to hold his place in Australia’s XI for the vital Test, with the series poised at 1-apiece.

A veteran of 66 Tests, Haddin pulled out of the Second Test due to family reasons, allowing deputy Nevill to don the Baggy Green cap for the first time.

Nevill scored 45 in his only opportunity with the bat at Lords, and took seven catches in a record-equalling performance for a ‘keeper on debut.

Much has been made of Haddin’s recent struggles with the bat, with the 37-year-old scoring just the one half-century since the completion of the last Ashes series on Australian soil.

Haddin also unfairly copped the brunt of the blame for Australia’s loss in the First Test, dropping Joe Root on a duck, with the English star going on to score 134.

The Queanbeyan product returned to the Australian side for the tour match against Derbyshire this past week, but it was again Nevill that donned the gloves.

The 29-year-old Nevill also batted at number six during the tour match – above Shane Watson and Haddin – though he could only muster a solitary run.

Coach Darren Lehmann indicated that the selection panel would not think twice if a tough decision needed to be made.

“We are yet to finalise our XI for Edgbaston so all I can say is that we, as a selection panel, will make the decision that we believe is in the best interests of the team and that gives us the right balance for the conditions that we’ll face in the Test,” Lehmann wrote in his blog for the Cricket Australia website.

“If we have to make a tough call then that’s what we’ll do, but that won’t happen until we see how everyone shapes up over the next couple of days and we get a look at the conditions which will allow us to make a solid call on every position from one to 11.”

I would prefer to see Haddin given an opportunity to make amends for his performance in Cardiff, before handing the reigns to Nevill at the completion of the series.

The former vice-captain took five catches in the First Test, to go with scores of 22 and 7.

Haddin has been an excellent servant to Australian cricket in his tenure, and the chance to win an Ashes series away from home is owed to him.

Much debate surrounded the selection of the deputy wicket-keeper ahead of the West Indies and Ashes tours, with a number of potential candidates putting up their hand.

Nevill’s age was an issue for some critics, but the best player must always be selected regardless of age – just look at Chris Rogers, who is in the form of his career at the ripe old age of 37.

Nevill was my choice based solely on performance, with Western Australia’s Sam Whiteman the man for the job in the future.

(PHOTO: The Daily Telegraph)

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