Adelaide (The Telegraph): Ian Healy, who held the world record for the most Test dismissals by a ’keeper, for nine years from October 1998, spoke to The Telegraph on Tuesday afternoon.
Now 47, Healy is a member of the star-studded Channel 9 commentary team. He retired in 1999.
The following are excerpts from the one-on-one
Q Is Brad Haddin’s time up?
A No... I wouldn’t say his time is up, but he’s got to improve. Haddin’s the best ’keeper-batsman we have in Australia, at the moment, but he’s not playing well... He’s certainly under scrutiny and only he’ll know if his time is up or if he can recover from the slump in form.
What do you feel?
Haddin’s good enough to recover and be there for another year or two.
The other day, Haddin was quoted as saying that he wasn’t really up to it mentally and physically. Shouldn’t he then have stepped aside?
Those comments were more in relation to the KFC Big Bash... However, it’s a sign of the pressure telling on him. You don’t opt out so easily. Instead, you freshen up and take a fresh guard. I hope Haddin’s worked on the basics in the past week.
Does Haddin interact with you regularly?
I did have a 20-minute session with him in Brisbane, at the start of the season.
What did you tell Haddin?
To focus on the basics, to think of the ball only... To watch the ball and not think about what could happen... To get the footwork right... To get the body position correct...
He doesn’t need any more sessions with me, but has to work hard on the right stuff... He’s dropped a catch each at the MCG and the SCG... A ’keeper can’t afford to not be ready when a nick comes.
Till not too long ago, Tim Paine was seen as Haddin’s successor...
But he’s been out with a finger injury for a long time... He hasn’t been playing.
So, who is next in line?
Victoria’s Matthew Wade, who has been selected for the two T20 Internationals against India. It’s to be seen how he takes to the next level, but he’s good with the gloves and is a hard-hitting batsman.
What have you made of Wriddhiman Saha, who is ’keeping in a Test for the first time?
Saha’s been very good, quite enthusiastic... There’s been more chatter behind the stumps with him being there... He’s had to pick a lot of balls from in front of him and he’s done that well.
Any tips for Saha?
None as such... He should keep making an impression whenever opportunities come his way, like here.
Has Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s ’keeping improved?
I think it’s the same... He’s efficient, does the job... Actually, Dhoni has too much on his plate... Captaining, ’keeping to spinners, working out tactics.
Can Dhoni get better at ’keeping or, at 30, is he past the age of improving?
More than his ’keeping, Dhoni needs to improve his batting, more so as some of the seniors may soon retire. His batting will then be more important... India needs Dhoni’s batting to improve... Not being the captain could help, I don’t know... With his team under-performing, Dhoni has felt the pressure on this tour.
Mark Boucher (35), who has taken your position at the top, is still a ’keeper at the Test level...
There’s something special about every world-record holder... Let’s see if Boucher goes out in a big series, perhaps against England or against us.
The final one... What will you tell the emerging ’keepers?
You’ve got to love your job, which includes working on your batting... Strive for extreme consistency at all times and, every now and then, excellence. Remember, the ball is yours, take it.