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Haddin backs youth, admits slim pickings

AAP logoAAP 16/11/2016 Warren Barnsley

Brad Haddin has backed calls for youth despite admitting the list of batsman banging down the door for Australian Test selection is short.

The former Test wicketkeeper has also linked Cricket Australia's treatment of the Sheffield Shield to the national team's decline from world No.1 in February to five-straight losses.

With as many as four Test batting spots up for grabs following the latest batting capitulation to South Africa in Hobart on Tuesday, Haddin "100 per cent" believes changes are necessary.

He has backed batsmen Peter Handscomb (25-years-old), Kurtis Patterson and Cameron Bancroft (both 23) for Test selection.

"We need some guys that have got some character in there that are willing to give Steve Smith that fight on those tough days," Haddin told Sky Sports Radio.

"I think we need to put a bit of a line in the sand and maybe go for some young guys - the likes of a Bancroft, a Handscomb, a Kurtis Patterson - guys like this to mould them in the way Steve Smith wants to play games."

Former Australian captain Ian Chappell was among those opposed to selectors' tendency to debut older players, with batsman Adam Voges and Callum Ferguson both receiving their Baggy Greens over 30.

With few youngsters establishing themselves as ready-made Test players, 66-Test veteran Haddin identified Victorian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade (28) as another middle-order batting option.

"No one's jumping out of the pack in state cricket to demand a spot," Haddin said.

"I think Matthew Wade would actually be a good fit at No.6. He's got that fight about him. You can't question his character in the change room."

Haddin also took issue with "too much experimenting" in the Sheffield Shield, namely the introduction of pink and Duke balls and the decision to pull star Australian pacemen Mitchell Starc out halfway through a match for NSW.

"Our Sheffield Shield wasn't broken," Haddin said.

"We were producing tough Australian cricketers and it was the best first-class competition in the world. I see no reason to experiment with that."

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