To my beloved parents Anne and Ross,
Brothers Michael and Christopher
Wife Karina, and children Zachary, Mia, and Hugo.
In the end, nothing else matters.
The man New Zealand loves to hate has a biography out. Despite what you may be thinking, hear this out.
This is a different sporting book in that it interweaves a sporting career with dealing with the stress of having a young daughter with an aggressive form of cancer.
The strand dealing with daughter Mia’s battle brings it home. But for some improbably successful surgery when she was suffering profuse internal bleeding she wouldn’t have made it. Those chapters are truly emotional, and you would have rocks in your soul not be moved by them.
Even after Mia returned home, there were all the complications, the turns, the readmissions to hospital, and the further periods in Intensive Care. Permanent stress at a level the rest of us can’t really imagine..
What made the early days of that drama more extraordinary was that his wife was pregnant at the time; being in that radioactive environment. You get the feeling she was the star of the show.
“Family man” and “team man” are overused words, but it is clear throughout the book that Haddin was very much both. Obsessively even.
One example was in his ODI debut against Zimbabwe. Australia was cruising reasonably comfortably towards a win when he came in. He knew, instinctively that his primary role was not to score too quickly and ensure that Mark Waugh could bring up his century. He wasn’t told to do that; he just knew.
His father was a builder turned publican rugby league halfback from the backblocks of New South Wales, which seems about right. It is clear that he was a huge influence throughout Haddin’s life; in fact Brad idolised him. He also had a poster of Ian Healy on his bedroom wall.
Although his father doesn’t come across as a pushy parent as such he was very supportive of the teenage Brad, backing his decision to leave school early to join an academy, act as a sounding board and do things like build a device to help Brad grow his teenage muscles on his arms.
As a teenager playing senior cricket Haddin was on the receiving end of a lot of sledging, and that is covered in some detail which might cast some context onto what would follow.
It is clear that his real cricketing positive mentor was Rod Marsh. Not only from the cricketing side of things, but general advice on how to be an Australian.
He made his NSW debut aged 21, he had to wait until he was 30 before playing his first test; thanks to the career of Adam Gilchrist. He was obviously going to make the most of that.
The two strands of the tale come together in Cardiff 2015; the test when his drop of Root early on cost Australia the test, and maybe the Ashes.
On the final day Karina realised something was wrong with Mia. She was taken to the hospital where tests shown haemoglobin levels had halved, so she was admitted. This was sadly normal, but things were under control, so there was no need to inform Brad.
Another player’s partner took it upon herself to phone the team manager to urge him to tell Brad.
The juggling was never easy, and that is probably the most revealing part of the book. And it wasn’t helped with Micky Arthur playing mind games with him on that homeworkgate tour of India as he was making his comeback, and playing understudy to Wade..
Finally, the Neil Broom incident is talked about. Cheating is an emotive word, and the media hypes things up. One for the team etc…
And then his review of the World Cup final of 2015, and its aftermath. New Zealanders will enjoy that too. There is an apology for any offence caused.