Haddin may join Ponting's Canberra farewell
Brad Haddin during the Sheffield Shield match at Manuka Oval on November 28. Photo: Mark Nolan
Manuka Oval is preparing for a dream double act with Brad Haddin set to join Ricky Ponting in a blockbuster Prime Minister's XI game in Canberra next year.
The Sunday Canberra Times can reveal there is a push for former Australian wicketkeeper Haddin to link with Ponting in the match on January 29.
Ponting - who will retire from international duties after the Test in Perth - will captain the team against the West Indies.
But after his chance to captain the PM's XI was ruined by rain earlier this year, Haddin is poised to join his good friend for one last outing.
The move would be a welcome boost for Cricket ACT in what is already a tantalising two weeks for the sport in 2013.
It will be Ponting's last big appearance after the man regarded as Australia's best batsman since Sir Donald Bradman announced he was ending his international career.
A week after the PM's XI contest, the Australian one-day international team will play in Canberra for the first time when it takes on the West Indies.
Adding to the excitement is the chance to see master blaster Chris Gayle in action twice in a week.
It is understood Cricket Australia would have to tick off the move to have Haddin involved in the match, which traditionally pays tribute to a retiring star and helps nurture the next generation of talent.
Ponting was unveiled as the PM's XI skipper on Tuesday last week and it prompted a move for Haddin to also be part of the team.
Haddin has been in Canberra for the past week with the NSW side and will play a one-day match against the Queensland Bulls on Sunday.
The veteran is keen to deliver fireworks and urged his teammates to ''light up Manuka Oval''.
Despite boasting a talented line-up, the Blues sit at the bottom of the one-day ladder with just one win from three games.
But with the Big Bash Twenty20 competition beginning this week, Haddin wants his team to get some big-hitting practice and put on a show for his home crowd.
''We're entertainers and it's been a good week so far in Canberra and the support we've had has been fantastic, so with a bit of luck with can light up Manuka Oval for everyone,'' Haddin said.
''Traditionally if you get a good wicket here there are some pretty high scores and that's what we'll be looking at again [on Sunday].
''We've got guys who can play with a lot of freedom and give the crowd something to look forward to.''
While the Sheffield Shield match finished on Friday, Haddin believes the rising Queensland and NSW players can use the one-day fixture to press their claims to replace Ponting.
Someone needs to step up and Bulls batsman and former NSW star Usman Khawaja could get his chance while Steve Smith's form with the bat has improved dramatically.
Haddin said the challenge was consistent runs to ensure the Australian side did not suffer in life after Ponting.
''There are a few guys who are ready to step up and it's an exciting time because there is a position there,'' Haddin said.
''It's great Ricky gets to go out on his own terms, this will be when you find out which guys really want it … the guys who can stand up under pressure when they have to score runs.
''Someone can stand up and make their name. The easy part is getting selected if you put the numbers on the board … the only thing to do is to go out and perform.''