Veteran Brad Haddin said yesterday he never doubted he would play test cricket again and vowed to help instil the team spirit needed for Australia to win the Ashes series against England.
Haddin, 35, has played only one test since January last year but now finds himself vice-captain to Michael Clarke and the preferred wicketkeeper in a team humbled by India 4-0 in March.
Selectors hope his presence will help bring some authority to a side dogged by in-fighting and poor discipline during the India tour. Haddin said he was ready to step up to the challenge.
"I was surprised when [chairman of selectors] John [Inverarity] called last night. But the bottom line is we have to find a way to bring this squad back together," Haddin said. "We are all going over there for one thing, we've got to get the Ashes back. Nothing else matters.
"We've got to come together and make sure we are successful in bringing back the urn."
Haddin was recalled as vice-captain after Shane Watson stood down from the role over the weekend to concentrate on his batting and bowling after his controversial axing on disciplinary grounds in India.
Pundits doubted 44-test veteran Haddin would ever reclaim his spot in the team after returning home from the tour of the West Indies last year when his young daughter fell seriously ill.
Matthew Wade, 10 years younger, played the next 12 tests until a sprained ankle opened the door for Haddin to play the final test of the recent India series.
"I've never doubted my ability to get back to the top level," Haddin said. "The only thing that was in my mind is whether I'd ever come back to play cricket, whether the [family] circumstances would allow that.
"I knew if I got the opportunity to come back and play any form of cricket, I was going to do it properly."
Former Australian Ashes-winning captain Steve Waugh said the Clarke-Haddin combination would give Australia a lot of confidence.
"I think England will see Australia and see a strong captain and vice-captain relationship and that will send out a good message from Australia's point of view," Waugh said.