Australia wicketkeeper Peter Nevill has said the tourists remain united despite the “complex situation” which saw him included in the side for their third Ashes Test defeat by England.
Nevill made his debut in Australia's 405-run second Test win at Lord's after first-choice wicketkeeper Brad Haddin withdrew to be with his sick daughter, Mia. Nevill, 29, impressed at Lord's, with seven catches and 45 in his only innings.
But several former Australia players, notably Matthew Hayden, felt Haddin, 37, should have been recalled for the third Test and went on to question the worth of Australia’s “family first” policy in the light of his absence.
But selector Rodney Marsh, one of Australia's greatest wicketkeepers, said Haddin's form did not warrant a recall, with coach Darren Lehmann subsequently adding selection could not be guaranteed.
Reports in the Australian press suggested some players were unhappy at a move which could signal the end of Haddin’s 66-Test career.
“It’s obviously a complex situation, but all I can really focus on is I’ve been selected to do that job and I had to do it as best as I could,” Nevill said on Monday as the Australians prepare for the fourth Test in Nottingham, which begins on Thursday.
Nevill performed well again in the third Test at Birmingham's Edgbaston ground, where his second innings fifty helped Australia avoid a two-day defeat, although England still won by eight wickets to go 2-1 up in the series.
As for suggestions of dressing-room disharmony, Nevill said: “The atmosphere is great.
“Everyone enjoys each other’s company and laughs and jokes around. Obviously it hurts losing, but the focus is now on bouncing back and winning the next Test.”
Nevill’s 59 at Edgbaston saw him score a maiden Test fifty and helped give Australia a glimmer of hope in setting England 121 to win.
“To be able to get a lead and something to bowl at, it was great to be able to do that.”
Far from being overawed at replacing Haddin, Nevill said he always had confidence in his own ability.
“I sort of felt that I’d done the work to get here and I haven’t been concerned that I’m not up to it,” he said.
Indeed, he relished his rearguard action at Edgbaston. “I had a number of moments where the crowd are very vocal and the England quicks were steaming in,” he said.
“I just took a little moment to think to myself ‘how much fun is this?’ I would have loved to have put on more.”
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