PETER Nevill insists he has tried to forget any controversy surrounding his Australia Ashes selection and praised Brad Haddin’s attitude.
The 29-year-old wicketkeeper kept his place ahead of Haddin for Australia’s eight-wicket defeat at Edgbaston last week.
Nevill impressed in the second Test at Lord’s, with seven catches and 45 in his only innings, after first-choice wicketkeeper Haddin withdrew for personal reasons. He then played in the third Test, a move which was criticised by former skipper Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden. But selector Rodney Marsh said Haddin’s form did not warrant a recall, with coach Darren Lehmann adding selection could not be guaranteed.
Australia head to Trent Bridge on Thursday 2-1 down in the series and Nevill has moved to ignore any distractions as he fights for his spot.
He said: “I’ve been able to remain pretty focused. The great thing has been Brad Haddin. He has been helping me prepare as best I can to play in these Test matches.
“The way he’s carried himself, as per usual, has showed he is just a wonderful person, a very selfless person, and he’s always fun to be around. I’ve known Brad for a long time and I’d expect nothing less from him. He’s just a quality person through and through.”
Nevill also backed Michael Clarke to regain his form after the under-fire captain flopped again in Birmingham.
Clarke has scored only 94 runs in six innings this series and hit just 13 in the third Test.
Nevill said: “He’s been great. ‘Pup’ is a world-class player, has been for a long time, and he knows how to get the best out of himself. I’m sure that there’s big runs around the corner.”
In the wake of their defeat, Australia could bring in Shaun Marsh for Adam Voges and Peter Siddle could come into the reckoning for Josh Hazlewood.
England also have a selection issue with James Anderson out with a side strain, and Nevill knows he is tough to replace.
He added: “He’s obviously a world-class bowler so they are big shoes to fill for whoever comes into that role. But we’re not going to dwell on that.”
Meanwhile, England selector Mick Newell has defended opener Adam Lyth following his Ashes struggles. The Yorkshire batsman has failed to make a serious impact so far against Australia, hitting just 72 runs in six innings with a highest score of 37.
England head to Trent Bridge for the start of the fourth Test on Thursday 2-1 up after an eight-wicket win at Edgbaston last week put them on the brink of a series victory.
England have already changed their batting line-up this series, with Jonny Bairstow replacing Gary Ballance and Ian Bell and Joe Root moving up the order. Nottinghamshire’s Alex Hales has also been tipped to replace Lyth but Newell insists the opener’s position is safe.
“We haven’t even discussed anything beyond this Test match,” Newell told Sky Sports.
“Adam Lyth has everyone’s confidence to come out here on Thursday and score runs for England. He has justified his place in the team and scored an awful lot of runs for Yorkshire to get into this team and he has a Test match century under his belt, so he has everyone’s confidence.
“It’s up to players like Alex Hales and others to push their cases in the county games.”
England will regain the Ashes with a victory in Nottingham and Newell is hopeful the wicket can favour their bowling attack.
“It’s looking good. The groundsman is preparing the pitch as he always does,” he said.
“I think the main issues are that we want to make sure it has pace, carry and bounce through to the wicketkeeper and the slip fielders are there to take the catches as they come. The main issues for us are mainly pace and bounce in the wicket.”