Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart, 4th day

Clarke injury raises unanswerable question

Daniel Brettig at Bellerive Oval

December 17, 2012

Comments: 75 | Text size: A | A

Michael Clarke speaks to physio Alex Kountouris about his injured right hamstring, Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart, 4th day, December 17, 2012
Michael Clarke retired hurt on 57 © Getty Images
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Australian cricket's unanswerable question - that of who will succeed Michael Clarke - has suddenly become one the national selectors must ponder ahead of the Boxing Day Test after the captain was forced to retire hurt with a hamstring injury on day four in Hobart.

Clarke had made a rapid-fire 57 when he complained of tightness in his right hamstring, forcing the team physio Alex Kountouris to make a quick dash onto the field for consultation before it was decided that Australia's leader could not continue. His exit contributed to the hosts' loss of 9 for 146 after the openers Ed Cowan and David Warner added 132. Clarke limped visibly when he led the team out for the start of the fourth innings, underlining the precarious state of his fitness for Melbourne.

The sight of Clarke being unable to continue batting, or resume his innings when Australia were nine wickets down, was a truly unsettling sight for the team. At 31, Clarke has been described as the one sure thing in Australian cricket, and his loss to injury for any period of time is the most telling blow the team could suffer.

In recent times the selection panel has shied away from facing the issue of succession, reasoning that no-one at present is ready to accept the responsibilities of the job or the expectations that it might be headed in their direction. Prior to Ricky Ponting's retirement he was hinted at by the national selector John Inverarity as the man most likely to substitute as captain. Shane Watson, meanwhile, is the deputy and has led Australia at limited-overs level, but his batting displays since returning to the team have not exactly inspired confidence.

Australia's coach Mickey Arthur told ESPNcricinfo earlier this summer that the panel was not yet sure that Clarke's eventual successor was even a member of the current Test team. Concerns about a leadership vacuum at the top of Australian cricket were such that the Tasmanian captain George Bailey was parachuted in as Twenty20 captain earlier this year.

"We have massive discussions, as a panel we continually talk about that," Arthur said. "We're trying to pick leaders, we're looking for leaders, and we do that as a selection panel all the time under John. We have those discussions. When we're confident that we have a guy who has A cemented his place in the team and B done well enough to warrant being brought into the fold as a possible successor to Michael [we will].

"I know one of Michael's goals is he doesn't want to leave it hanging. He wants to blood the next Australian captain, but right at the minute we're sitting with a team of players that are still trying to cement their place in international cricket, so you wouldn't want to give them the burden of appointing anybody as the heir apparent to the captaincy."

Last summer David Warner was elevated to be ODI deputy when Clarke also suffered a hamstring strain, but speculation and confusion about whether that made him an early heir apparent to other leadership roles had the panel reconsider the role of vice-captain at the start of this summer. When Watson was unavailable for the first two Tests against South Africa, no deputy was named, with the understanding that Ponting would lead should Clarke be indisposed.

"Last season we just looked at certain options," Arthur said. "It is very clear to us at the moment that we don't want to give anybody that extra responsibility, it's a tough enough game as it is, you don't want to be giving the players any more responsibility. Once they've cemented their place in the side and are going well and have shown a massive amount of leadership qualities around the group, then we can look to perhaps talk about succession planning in that area.

"It is probably just a little premature at the moment, but it is something we do consistently talk about. We want to be really certain. The vice-captain at the moment is Shane Watson and we haven't looked past that at this stage."

The other short-term option to lead the team on Boxing Day would be the 37-year-old Michael Hussey. He has led Australia four times previously, all in ODIs around the 2006-07 season, and was a losing captain on each occasion.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Hammond on (December 19, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

@Chris_P- ahh another Aussie in love with faded glory. Soak up mediocrity son, it's been coming at you like a freight train since 2005.

Posted by landl47 on (December 19, 2012, 5:23 GMT)

@Marcio: I made a simple comment about Watson's captaincy record. There was no dig, indirect or otherwise, and no reference to England. Watson captained the ODI side, basically his only experience of international captaincy, in the WI against a side without Gayle and came away with a 2-2 (plus a tie) result. This wasn't a weak Australia team, only Clarke out of the first-stringers at the time was missing. If you think Watson did a good job, then I must respectfully disagree with you. As you say, in the test series, when Clarke was captain, Australia won 2-0. That supports my point , don't you think?

Posted by im_vishu on (December 18, 2012, 2:45 GMT)

Not sure about tactical nous of Siddle but he has good leadership qualities and earned respect fro all players...Siddle can be an option for test captaincy..

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (December 18, 2012, 2:24 GMT)

If they don't go for Watto as captain then Dave Warner is the most likely to be captain in the future.Watson is the most established in some respects, most obvious long term option. As a Bulls fan I would be biased towards Usman as Clarke's replacement but he has earned it too, thanks to his batting this year we are at the top of the shield table, he single handidly won the game against Tasmania where his 140 odd outscored the Tasmanian's total.

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 18, 2012, 0:58 GMT)

Well Khawaja is likely to replace Pup, even if it is possible names jump into calculation!Secondly you'll definitely choose an experience paceman in Johnson, has he'll fight to cover a place in the Aussie line-up for the upcoming Indian tour. Boxing Day Test squad should be

1) Dave Warner 2) Ed Cowan 3) Phil Huges 4) Usman Khawaja 5) Shane Watson (c) 6) Mike Hussey (vc) 7) Matthew Wade 8) Peter Siddle 9) Mitchell Starc 10) Mitchell Johnson 11) Nathan Lyon

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (December 18, 2012, 0:54 GMT)

All the discussion shows how valuable Clarke is not only as batsman but captain. Bailey has been terrible in shield this year so he doesn't deserve captaincy, in all likelihood it will have to be Watto but just shows how important Clarke is. Khawaja is a no brainer as replacement if required but hope Clarke is ready to go for Boxing day.

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (December 17, 2012, 23:28 GMT)

Select the best 11 players and then choose the captain out of that. Simple. Any fill in captain can get lots of advice from the dressing rooms with the 12th man taking out drinks and suggestions every second over.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 17, 2012, 22:53 GMT)

@Hammond. I don't know about that, your mob did a fairly ordinary job for over 20 years, & they were ranked a whole lot lower than 3rd!

Posted by Sanj747 on (December 17, 2012, 22:31 GMT)

Watson can hardly get a run and his stats prove how much behind the eight ball he is as a top 4 batsman in test cricket. They know want to make him captain. Doesn't make sense at all.

Posted by Pratikles on (December 17, 2012, 22:26 GMT)

uh what if Shane Warne comes back from retirement ? does he get the captaincy ahead of watson ?

Posted by Beertjie on (December 17, 2012, 21:43 GMT)

I think the NSP that picked Watto as VC has had second thoughts, hence no VC appointed. Now what's to do? Temporizing...I guess it'll hurt his confidence if he's not made captain and they wouldn't want that hurt when everything else might cave in anytime. Conundrums...Well let's bring Brad back and reward him with the captaincy. That will make everyone happy!

Posted by C.A-SA1987 on (December 17, 2012, 21:06 GMT)

The English must be loving this.. Separating Clarke and Cook is a pointless task. Both are amazing, brilliant, *insert superlative adjective here*... However, it is blatantly apparent that the Aussies rely on Clarke FAR MORE than what the Poms rely on Cook.

Both sides do have injury issues regarding their seam bowlers though. England pip the aussies in batting and the spin dept - that's for sure.

I'm a saffer, but i simply cannot wait for The Ashes... The banter from FFL, Jonesy2, Hammond and Marcio to mention a few should provide me with pleasant entertainment as both sets of fans try to establish themselves (and their teams) as worthy contenders to the throne... for the second time, because clearly trying it the first time didn't help.

Definitely backing the poms to regain The Ashes... The days of Haydos, Gilly,

Posted by MrArmchairCricket on (December 17, 2012, 16:42 GMT)

of the current squad, Dave Warner is the most likely to be captain in the future. As mentioned, the workload on Shane Watson seems to be a bit too much even without the burden of being captain. At the time of his appointment as vice captain, I thought choosing Watson was wrong, even though he was the most established and in some respects, most obvious long term option.

@All suggesting Hussey: Err, last time he captained Australia, he lost 3 ODIs to a pretty poor New Zealand team.

@Marcio: Cummins as captain would be an option, except the poor bugger is injured.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 15:37 GMT)

To put a black mark against Hussey because of 4 one-day reverses in the summer of 2006-07 under his stand-in captaincy watch is unfair. He actually scored a one-day century in one of those 4 games and it was not his fault that the bowlers available to him at the time twice could not defend 300+ totals. As regards to a stint as fill-in test match captain he IS a better option as he's in a currently good & rich vein of batting form and is less likely to get injured mid-match as Watson is. Watson's stint as one-day captain in the West Indies earlier this year had a few instances where match shutdown opportunities were NOT taken and the 2-2 one day series result doesn't truly reflect the gap in playing standards between a West Indies side minus Chris Gayle and the side Australia had available to it earlier this year. Watson will probably get it if Clarke doesn't recover in time for Boxing Day BUT an injury free Hussey should on representation experience grounds be getting it instead.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 15:37 GMT)

If it was England we were talking about you'd say Ed Cowan was a shoe-in.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 14:50 GMT)

I'd like to see George Bailey brought in sooner rather than later. I know he's not the best batsman around (although I think he could do pretty well), but he's a top-class captain and the sort of experienced pro that we could really use.

Posted by Jediroya on (December 17, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

there is a difference between ordinary day-to-day intelligence and cricketing intelligence. Shane Warne is a perfect example of having the latter whilst not having the former. Shane Watson is a perfect example of not having either, he should not even be mentioned in relation to captaincy. Warner must be the long-term successor to Clarke as he has a decent cricket brain, however for a one-off test it should probably be Hussey.

Posted by njr1330 on (December 17, 2012, 13:04 GMT)

Surely it has to be Michael Hussey until someone else emerges.

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 17, 2012, 12:46 GMT)

@Cameron Dickson is spot on, selectors moved past Haddin once they picked Wade. Now to the future and Khawaja is the man for the job. Khawaja to replace Pup in the order as he experience in the middle order. Bird or Cutting to replace Hilfenhaus. Starc bowled well today so he should be locked in for Melbourne.

Posted by Marcio on (December 17, 2012, 12:33 GMT)

I'm a great Warner fan, but those suggesting he leads the team are totally bonkers! The guy has only played a handful of tests, a few 1st class games on top of that. Hell, why don't we bring in Pat Cummins to captain as a batsmen and get an acne cream company to sponsor the tea break? (OK, maybe not over tea). Warner needs to get established in the team and work on his own game. He might make a good leader in 3-4 years if he is still in the team. Watson will lead the team if Clarke is out. Simple. And Watson will come good with the bat eventually. He is too good not to. I have to admit though that all these injuries are terrible. Never seen so many in my life.

Posted by Rally_Windies on (December 17, 2012, 12:09 GMT)

Warner ? Siddle ?

haahahahah ..

who would you have picked as Pointing's successor 5 years ago ? Clarke ? maybe not .... ave made

there is no way to tell who will mature and step up to the task...

Clake's successor might not his debut yet ...

Wade, looks a better pick than Siddle or Warner ...

Watson, as vice, may have a problem as captain ... his workload leads to injury ... Kallis ain't captain of SA is he ?

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 12:05 GMT)

It would have to be someone who is comfortably in the team in all 3 formats. That leave us Shane Watson, Matthew Wade, David Warner and Michael Hussey. You can take Michael Hussey out of the equation as he is too old, so that leaves 3. Matthew Wade has done well enough but is yet to really establish him; so that would be a bit premature. Shane Watson is vice captain but he is someone who needs to be captain - he himself can't captain while he keeps overbowling himself and getting injured, batting poorly when batting down the order, and so forth. So that leaves us with one option - David Warner. I don't think that Warner is anywhere near ready, and in time another name may come up but as it stands right now he would be the logical choice. For the Boxing Day test though, I would pick Michael Hussey, as it is just for one test.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (December 17, 2012, 11:19 GMT)

@LewisMacksville you are right about looking to the future. Khawaja has improved on those things that were asked of him.The biggest improvement in Khawaja's game has been his fielding and running between the wickets. Under Lehman he has improved the things that were asked of him and he should be rewarded.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 11:11 GMT)

Just make Watson captain. Hussey has done well the past few summers and looks much more relaxed, he's got form and confidence back and doesn't need to be weighed down by Captaincy. Please do not pick Brad Haddin. The selection of Wade indicates the selection panel have moved on past Haddin and we have other options for specialist batsmen. Pick Khawaja to replace Pup in the order. Bird or Cutting to replace Hilfenhaus. Starc better have a good game tomorrow or his head will be on the block too.

I'd have for Melbourne: 1. Warner 2. Cowan 3. Hughes 4. Watson 5. Khawaja 6. Hussey 7. Wade 8. Siddle 9. Bird 10. Starc 11. Lyon

Posted by Fleming_Mitch on (December 17, 2012, 11:03 GMT)

Khawaja and Bird have to be the two replacements. No Johnson as I would prefer Bird over Johnson even though he bowled well in Perth. Khawaja is a must otherwise the selectors are not rewarding performance.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (December 17, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

@Macca_mat is correct. We bought in Hughes in to replace Ponting with a view to the future and this was good because we rewarded performance. Picking haddin will not be a step in the right direction, we have to look to the future and Khawaja or Ferguson should be picked next. Khawaja uner Lehman has become a very good player of spin and is already among the best players of pace. Clarke and Arthur are good judge of talent and i am sure they will bring Khawaja in.

Posted by Test-is-the-best on (December 17, 2012, 10:47 GMT)

The captaincy should be given to Shane WARNE in the Boxing Day test match.

Posted by hmmmmm... on (December 17, 2012, 10:38 GMT)

I agree with you shaggy076 - Khawaja should be next in but we already have strange left/right balance as it is. Khawaja is also not the best player of spin, we already have warner, cowan & hughes (and at times watson) who can't do that at test level...so adding another would cause more issues. D Hussey seems a good option for that very reason for this series and also india and he can bowl reasonable PT off spin which we will need.

Posted by Busie1979 on (December 17, 2012, 10:28 GMT)

Warner is the clear front runner. Siddle a possibility although bowlers don't tend to be picked these days. The dark horse for me is Glen Maxwell - you heard it here first at Cricinfo!

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (December 17, 2012, 10:06 GMT)

@Hyclass and @MaccaMat i agree with you guys, Khawaja has to be the guy to replace Clarke if required. After Hughes he was next off the rank and we need quality batsman like him around if there is another injury and to keep the top order honest. Best young batsman in the country in my view and a great representative for Asian migrants in Australia. More importantly he is the type of guy needed for the ashes as most of his runs have come on absolute green tracks this year in shield and Ryobi.

Posted by Kulaputra on (December 17, 2012, 10:03 GMT)

There is no point in going to Mike Hussey except as a reward for his service. Not a bad choice. Shane Watson though fits the bill better. Otherwise, the vice captain's position is a bit of a joke !!!

Posted by wix99 on (December 17, 2012, 9:54 GMT)

Hussey would be the best choice to fill in as captain. Khawaja would be the best choice to fill in as a batsman.

In the long term Australia just needs to choose the best 11 players to win Test matches. One of those players can then be the captain. Australia has been through a period where the captaincy has been very stable from Border to Taylor to Waugh to Ponting and now to Clarke. Australia may have to go through a period where the captaincy is not as stable for few years after Michael Clarke retires.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 17, 2012, 9:44 GMT)

Watson has to be captain, been the vice and should be promoted. Hopefully the captaincy gets him back in to his best form and at his best he is one of the worlds best batsman. Khawaja is a good bat but pick him we would have 6 lefties in top 7, I think to replace M Clarke you need an agressive player that will take the spinners on and I would pick David Hussey.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 9:43 GMT)

Mike Hussey - 100%. He is the most experienced. 7 years of Test cricket.

Posted by GeoffreysMother on (December 17, 2012, 9:21 GMT)

@batmanian - why stop at Warney - Richie could still do a job!

Posted by PeteB on (December 17, 2012, 9:18 GMT)

It's gotta be Hadds. His experience, along with excellent form, make him the best choice.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 9:06 GMT)

May Clarke's injury be a blessing in disguise ! Khawaja comes in for the Boxing Test. He scores more runs than Watson. Clarke becomes fit again. And we bid farewell to Shane Watson !

Posted by Batmanian on (December 17, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

Warne? After all, he did most of the on-field thinking for Waugh and then Ponting during the golden era... Stand him in the slips, have a bit of a bowl... A bit like the Bob Simpson recall, it has to be worth considering.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 8:58 GMT)

Hussey if they want experience, Cowan if they want to gamble, i like the look of him as captain, he clearly thinks about the game a lot. Mind you, Hussey is Mr Cricket...

Posted by AB99 on (December 17, 2012, 8:53 GMT)

No Ponting, Clarke, Hilfenhaus, Pattinson, Cummins ... this would be Sri Lanka's best bet to win the Melbourne Test against Australia. BTW - who is the batting replacement for Clarke from the barren cupboard that Australin batting these days is ...

Posted by L4zybugg3r on (December 17, 2012, 8:51 GMT)

@Wefinishthis - agree about Hussey being the stand in captain but the problem is a lot of these players have had quite a bit of a go but haven't cemented their places. The only people in the team who are secure IMO are Clarke, Hussey and to some degree Siddle and Lyon. Cowan and Warner have been somewhat underwhelming but maybe Warner can come good if he stops pre-meditating slogs, Cowan I'm doubtful about. Hughes is having a 3rd try in the team, Watson pfft - almost out of the team IMO (well should be but I suspect the selectors will persist with him too long), Wade has other things to worry about, a bunch of bowlers who can't stay on the park and Johnson who has played 48 tests (and is 31) and they still talk about his potential haha. Out of this lot the only one who I think could do it is Warner and he still has work to do to keep his spot.

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 17, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

@DavidCarbone I would definitely go for Khawaja as a one off game replacement for Clarke however I do hope Clarke is fit as he is the best batsman in the world right now. Khawaja has been the best shield batsman this year along with Hughes. Khawaja has played on at least 4 green tops this year including a game where he scored 1 and a half times the entire opposition in one inngs in Hobart. Last week Yesterday Taylor, Ian Chappell, Slater and Healy all slotted Khawaja in their test teams and for a good reason. Given how tough the pitches have been tough to bat on for shield only the likes of Khawaja has got runs. Lehman has turned his game around.

Posted by hycIass on (December 17, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

I think Watson will be the best choice, remember guys that this is only for 1 game and Watson has the respect of his team mates and can lead with both bat and bowl. Khawaja would be best suited to replace Watson in the batting lineup, along with Hughes has been the leading shield batsman this year.

Posted by peeeeet on (December 17, 2012, 8:36 GMT)

Call up Bailey or White for their captaincy skills. Could easily see them doing that. With no player in the squad having substantial leadership experience, my option would be Hussey as an interim captain an calling in Khawaja to the team.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 8:30 GMT)

Ridiculous that it's even an issue, should be Hussey hands down, more experience than most in the team combined.

Posted by Hammond on (December 17, 2012, 8:25 GMT)

Bit hard to lead such an average side. I don't envy the job whichever numpty gets the nod.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

Re-instate Ponting as captain and slot him in at no.5. Watto is lucky to be in the team, let alone captaining it!

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 8:11 GMT)

Has to be Hussey for mine. As stated he's the only one really placed to handle the distractions that come with it. Cowan if he was averaging 45 and had 30 tests under his belt might be a prospect but not for now.

Posted by BatsmanWhoBowls on (December 17, 2012, 7:56 GMT)

Warner should be skipper if Clarke can't be, and they should have made him vice-captain for South Africa if Mickey Arthur was serious about him as a potential future leader. It's not as if Warner wouldn't have any advisors, he's got the level heads of Hussey and Watson to help him out. And @chrynoon, Cowan's not been talked about as a captain but I agree, based on those characteristics, he's a good choice as well, and Wicketkeeper Wade could be in that category as well. No real basis for selection as leaders other than that for either of them though, they haven't really had much leadership experience with first class cricket.

Posted by Rick777 on (December 17, 2012, 7:43 GMT)

Watson for sure has to lead in Tests & ODIs when Clarke is not available.. Warner should be his deputy in T20s.

Posted by Beertjie on (December 17, 2012, 7:41 GMT)

Nothing against Wade but I hope Paine's batting improves this season so he can tour alongside Wade. That might be in line with Arthur's comment that the panel was not yet sure that Clarke's eventual successor was even a member of the current Test team.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 7:41 GMT)

Who going to replace him in the squad? Khawaja, Doolan, Ferguson or Quiney?

Posted by symsun on (December 17, 2012, 7:41 GMT)

Really pity that someone like Michael Hussey, the most consistent player being ignored by the selectors consistently citing age.

Posted by Marcio on (December 17, 2012, 7:28 GMT)

@LandL47 "Watson captained the ODI side in the West Indies and didn't look good at all. Aus had to win the last game to tie the series against a pretty substandard WI side." Perhaps you can explain the connection between these things you have put together? Or could you simply not resist an indirect dig at Australia for beating the WI 2-0 in their backyard (would have been 3-0 except for rain in the 2nd), after Eng failed to win there last time round? A spare 51 runs, anyone?

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 7:28 GMT)

It has been long, the bowlers are not being captains. Siddle anyone?

Posted by RightArmEverything on (December 17, 2012, 7:25 GMT)

I'd give Watson a go. Why not? Maybe he'll respond to the added responsiblity. I thought he did a reasonable job in ODIs. I'd rather see how he goes than give it to Hussey who from what I've read (although you can't believe everything you read) didn't do a great job when leading the team. @Ben1989, what an amazing comment - Hussey thinks more about the game than Kallis! How do you know that? I'd have thought Kallis thinks about the game quite a bit. Hell, I bet he thinks about it a lot, seeing as he bowls a lot more often than Hussey too.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 7:24 GMT)

This test series is falling apart. Aussies are breaking down like a holden engine.. :) Seriously what good is Aussies without a premium pacer and a premium batsmen??

Posted by chrynnon on (December 17, 2012, 7:20 GMT)

The captain's a cricketer who thinks about the game and communicates well. That'd be Cowan.

Posted by RightArmEverything on (December 17, 2012, 7:17 GMT)

@Mac Mason, your suggestion is so left field you would have travelled in a complete circle around the world and ended up in the right field!

Posted by smudgeon on (December 17, 2012, 6:50 GMT)

Anyone have Danny Buckingham's number? Surely he's stood in as captain of Burnie-Yeoman once or twice...

Posted by MinusZero on (December 17, 2012, 6:49 GMT)

In the past VCs have not been captains in tests missing the regular captain. Hussey should be captain in Clarkes absence. Watson is barely deserving of selection period. Given than CA is paying him so much to underperform, he wont be dropped any time soon.

Posted by Doonish on (December 17, 2012, 6:46 GMT)

Hussey for mine. Good tactician or no, makes for a cool, experienced head.

Posted by Ben1989 on (December 17, 2012, 6:36 GMT)

@xylo, since when has a captain been picked on his batting capability solely?? you cearly admitted yourself Clarke is a better tactician, which is what you need from a captain, of course they have to prove their worth with the ball/bat too, but just because he's not the best batsman, doesn't mean he shouldn't be captain, refer to Kallis, one of the best SAF batsman for god knows how long now, but never been captain material, Hussey thinks about the game more than Kallis does, but I'd still say Pup is a better captain, other point you may have forgotten is that Hussey is due to retire soon, why would he be picked as a long term option at all???

Posted by AB99 on (December 17, 2012, 6:35 GMT)

Apart from Clarke, Mike Hussey is the only player in the present Australian team capable of holding his place ... and plays all the three formats. Mike Husey with three centuries in four tests this year he is the best bet for being the captain ahead of Watson, Warner or anyone else ... But right from before his induction to the team, M Hussey is not the favourite of the Aussie selectors and they tend to look over him ...

Posted by Wefinishthis on (December 17, 2012, 6:22 GMT)

This really isn't a problem yet. Hussey will likely retire after the ashes in Australia. That will give Clarke possibly 2 years to start finding his replacement before he himself retires as he's made it clear he's not going to play into his late 30's like Hussey and Ponting. Warner is perhaps the most likely to keep his spot at this stage, but there's still some time before this becomes a problem. Watson's issue is that he's almost the same age as Clarke and is barely able to keep his own spot in the team and that's if he's not injured. If Warner and Hughes continue to perform, my guess is that it will be one of them.

Posted by Meety on (December 17, 2012, 6:17 GMT)

Torn on this one. I would consider bringing Haddin back to captain the team. IMO Haddin has the best credentials in Shield cricket. Trouble with that is, what to do with Wade? Do you play them both. Another drop in captain I would consider would be White, but his FC form has been pretty poor for a long time now. Then there is Bailey, I think he has done well in ODIs, so to me that would suggest he has the right attitude to cope with the demands. I would NOT consider Watto, & would be happy for Hussey if he got the nod.

Posted by bluebloodripper on (December 17, 2012, 6:12 GMT)

Shane Watson is the best choice here.

Posted by landl47 on (December 17, 2012, 6:05 GMT)

Watson captained the ODI side in the West Indies and didn't look good at all. Aus had to win the last game to tie the series against a pretty substandard WI side. I'd suggest that Mike Hussey is the best candidate for the short term, but Aus does have a succession issue. Bringing in a player specifically to be captain is something England used to do: sometimes it worked (Ray Illingworth, Mike Brearley) and sometimes it didn't (Tony Lewis, Mike Denness). Aus has never done that and they have always managed to find good captains. The issue now is that there are few young batsmen pushing for a test place who look like captaincy material. Khawaja, maybe?

Aus had better hope that Clarke can stay on the field. Their chances without him as captain and batsman look a bit uncertain.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 6:04 GMT)

Oh, for God's sake. No need for yet more silly histrionics, self-indulgent navel-gazing or convoluted explication from CA: if Watson's the official VC, then he's the captain for Melbourne. Case closed.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 6:00 GMT)

Maybe a bit from left field ... but don't overlook Khawaja ...

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 5:45 GMT)

Why worry when you have Michael Hussey and Watson? Make one of them as Captain.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 5:43 GMT)

Dont think about Hussy,, he is too good a batsman,,, let him enjoy his batting,,,concentrate there

Posted by satish619chandar on (December 17, 2012, 5:18 GMT)

Mike Hussey? He did have a horrible series as captain against NZ. But that doesnt make him a bad captain. He is the only player with stature as captain of the team. May be, Watson can do it but it will be a additional pressure on Watto as he is not scoring that much these days and injury lessening his impact as bowler a bit. Is Warner a test captaincy material? No bowlers look a captaincy material. As for interim solution, they can go with Hussey.

Posted by xylo on (December 17, 2012, 5:05 GMT)

My gripe ever since Clarke was handed over the captaincy was that Hussey was the more deserving candidate. That was solely based on batting talent - Hussey is the more complete batsman who can perform against pace and spin. But then, Clarke impressed me with his strategizing. In any case, it is not like Clarke's bad back was not known until now. An added hamstring injury is more or less a part and parcel of the game these days. But, to go with Watson would be shoddy, given that solely on the basis of performance, he is likely a 50-50 candidate. I'd go with Hussey, and see his strategizing skills.

Posted by vish57 on (December 17, 2012, 4:56 GMT)

Michel Hussey is the only short term option, otherwise Watson

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
Tour Results
Australia v Sri Lanka at Melbourne - Jan 28, 2013
Sri Lanka won by 2 runs (D/L method)
Australia v Sri Lanka at Sydney - Jan 26, 2013
Sri Lanka won by 5 wickets (with 7 balls remaining)
Australia v Sri Lanka at Hobart - Jan 23, 2013
Australia won by 32 runs
Australia v Sri Lanka at Sydney - Jan 20, 2013
No result
Australia v Sri Lanka at Brisbane - Jan 18, 2013
Sri Lanka won by 4 wickets (with 180 balls remaining)
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