Cricket 2023: Aussie great Brad Haddin hilarious ‘gamesmanship’ stitched Usman Khawaja up deluxe

Cricket can be a cruel game — especially when former NSW and Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin is scheming behind the wickets.

The ex-gloveman spent much of his career behind Adam Gilchrist in the Aussie cricket pecking order but was able to build a brilliant career of his own, playing 66 Tests, where he scored 3266 runs at 32.98 with four centuries, the 15th highest average of a wicketkeeper in Test history and second highest for Australia.

He also played 126 ODIs with 3122 runs at 31.53.

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But Haddin also played plenty of domestic cricket in a long career for the Blues, as well as grade cricket when available.

With hundreds of matches under his belt, Haddin was a wily customer behind the stumps.

Speaking on his LiSTNR podcast Willow Talk Haddin revealed the time he had Usman Khawaja given out despite the future Aussie opener going nowhere near the ball.

He called it “a little bit of gamesmanship” that convinced Aussie umpire Rod Tucker to give Khawaja out in a grade cricket grand final.

Haddin said “Usman was on fire” and the veteran gloveman used all his nous to get the then-youngster out.

“We had Adrian Tucker who was a good little leg-spinner who had a good wrong-un and Usman had played and missed a couple of times,” Haddin said.

“He was frustrated at slip — and he (Khawaja) was getting the better of us and it looked like we were staring down a defeat — and I said ‘next time it gets really close to Usman’s edge and he plays and misses, if I go up, everyone go up with me and look at Rod Tucker.

“Usman’s played and missed and I’ve thrown the ball up, we’ve charged toward Tucker our cover and mid-wicket and Tucker’s gone up with us. Khawaja’s sort of looked in disarray.

“After the game, Tucker said to me ‘he didn’t hit that?’ I said ‘nah, wasn’t hit’.

“We won the grand final, beat Randwick our arch rivals.”

Asked how Khawaj took it, Haddin replied: “Not well, he was only young at the time.

“He looked a little dumbfounded as he walked off but in Uzzie’s defence, there was a lot of daylight between bat and ball.

“He should have been disappointed.”

Haddin said he’s apologise if they got Khawaja on the show.

From what we could find as the records aren’t completely digitised for the earlier seasons of the NSW Grade Cricket competition, it appears to have been the 2003/04 decider between Eastern Suburbs and Randwick-Petersham.

A 17-year-old Khawaja was dismissed for a team high 67 as the Randy Petes fell 39 runs short of Easts’ first-innings 273.

For the record, Haddin scored 3 in the first innings and four in the second while Michael Maclennan hit a grand final winning 133 for Easts.

It was the start of big things for Khawaja obviously, who cleared more than 700 runs in the Sydney Grade Competition that season and was selected for NSW four years later. Three years after that he was in the Aussie Test side and has since played 56 Tests and 40 ODIs.

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