Haddin says tough times will make Smith a better captain
BRAD Haddin remains as ardent a supporter of Steve Smith as captain of Australia as ever.
The wicketkeeper was revealed in Haddin's autobiography, My Family's Keeper, to be the driving force behind the governing body anointing Smith as Michael Clarke's successor as skipper.
Haddin was Smith's biggest backer, even if it meant his younger New South Wales teammate taking his spot as national vice-captain in 2014.
Smith would ultimately replace Clarke for the 2015-16 season at home, leading his side to victory in Test series against New Zealand and the West Indies.
But the 27-year-old has come under enormous pressure following series defeats to Sri Lanka (3-0) and South Africa (2-1).
"I think this part of his journey is going make him, to be honest,” Haddin told Australian Regional Media.
"He had a blessed start to his career and now he's got his opportunity to put his mark on the way he wants the team to be performing - their identity that they want to stand for.
"It's great for his development.
"He's going look back on this time and think this was a big moment in his captaincy career.”
Smith has responded to the recent defeats in the longer form of the game by leading the way in the current one-day series against the Black Caps, smashing 164 in the opener.
"I obviously think he's the right man for the job,” Haddin said.
"He's only young. He's learning on the job.
"He lost a lost of senior players. David Warner was the oldest player at 30 in the last Test.
"It's a great opportunity for him to mould the team the way he wants it.”
While he's no longer part of the Australian set-up, Haddin will get another chance to play under Smith with the Sydney Sixers during the upcoming Big Bash League.
"It should be good fun,” Haddin said.
"Big Bash allows you to play a brand of cricket and express yourself without all the normal pressure. I'm looking forward to going out and having a hit.”
Also part of the Sixers team will be another former Aussie teammate in Nathan Lyon, whom Haddin nicknamed Goat (as in Greatest of All Time) - much to Lyon's chagrin.
"With nicknames, if you've played any sort of sport you'll know if you don't like it, the worst thing you can do is say that to your teammates,” Haddin said with a laugh.
"If you can see a crack in one of our friends you're going to get your money's worth.”
For Haddin, or "Hadds”, he copped "Guido” when he first joined the Aussie squad because Matthew Hayden thought Haddin sounded like Guido Hatzis, a comedy character from the '90s.
Haddin still goes by the name, but "only when I see Hayden and (Jason) Gillespie”.