Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart, 4th day December 17, 2012

Watson likely to lead on Boxing Day

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Shane Watson's Australian Test captaincy debut on Boxing Day is now a "distinct possibility" following Michael Clarke's suffering of a hamstring strain in the first Test against Sri Lanka, according to the national coach Mickey Arthur.

While Clarke led his team in the field on the fourth day and after scans and treatment overnight will do so again on the fifth, his barely mobile state was plainly clear, leaving him in considerable doubt to be fit in time for the biggest date on the Australian cricket calendar. Arthur confirmed this, and mentioned the former wicketkeeper Brad Haddin among a quartet of batsmen in the queue to replace Clarke.

"It is a distinct possibility, it would be a really good challenge for Shane," Arthur said. "We'll learn a lot about Shane and his leadership ability, I'm confident he will come through it very well. If it does materialise, it will be a really good opportunity for him.

"That batter, whoever it is, would have to be part of our extended squad. There are possibilities. [Brad] Haddin's one of them, [Rob] Quiney's one of them and certainly Usman Khawaja's very much in the frame. Alex Doolan has played well also."

Arthur said Clarke was resolved to stay out in the field so long as the Test needed to be won, and having taken two wickets on the fourth evening Australia look in fair shape to take a 1-0 series lead on the final day.

"He will get all the treatment he needs, he will get that after hours tonight and he will get that tomorrow between breaks," Arthur said. "You would have to cut Michael's leg off for him not to be out there. He certainly wants to marshal the troops and he wants to be there if hopefully sometime we can clinch a win. We don't know exactly the extent of the injury just yet. We will wait for the scan and once we have the scan we will be able to assess."

Arthur also confirmed that Ben Hilfenhaus' side injury was serious enough to rule him out of the Boxing Day Test and in all probability the New Year's Test in Sydney. He nominated Jackson Bird and Nathan Coulter-Nile as the two men most likely to join the squad in Melbourne, as Australia's list of injured fast bowlers has now extended to seven.

"All I can say is we've had a list of bowlers leading into our summer, and we're well down the list at the moment," Arthur said. "But it's going to be a fantastic opportunity for a couple of those guys. The names that have been on everyone's lips are guys like Jackson Bird, it could be Nathan Coulter-Nile, and that will form part of the discussions we have tonight."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dunger.bob on December 19, 2012, 0:23 GMT

    @ Paul Connell : "wasn't Watson scared of ghosts?" : I do believe you are correct. It certainly rings a bell. .. some castle in England wasn't it? .. he's a sensitive lad our Shane. Very much in tune with the existential. Is there any rule that you have to wear white? The Lankans could all dress in Halloween costumes and force Watto to captain by walkie talkie from the dressing room broom closet. .. just kidding of course. He'll be fine for one Test as captain but not as a long term prospect. Being an allrounder and captain is too much to ask. .. he's not Imran Khan or Kapil Dev.

  • PrasPunter on December 18, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    "Posted by Sinhaya-2 on (December 17 2012, 11:28 AM GMT)

    So clarke goes in to the hiding, he is scared to face us as he knows our boys will chase the remaining runs tomorrow, he thought he can thrash us easily which didn't happen, now he wants Watson to face some beating, let it be!! "

    Do you still mean it, given that we have won ? Show some respect to your opponents mate !!!

  • on December 18, 2012, 5:48 GMT

    Johnson and Khawaja will come in but if it was my choice I would go Doolan and Bird the tassie combo.

  • Buckers410 on December 18, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    Khawaja should deffs come in for Clarke, but Watson captaining is a worry. Coulter-Nile should play over Bird anyday but what about Ben Cutting. Team for Melbourne; 1.Warner 2.Quiney 3.Hughes 4.Khawaja 5.Watson 6. Hussey (c) 7.Wade 8.Siddle 9.Cutting 10.Coulter-Nile 11.A different spinner! I have been saying this all summer. Lyon is not a wicket taker and he never was. There are no wicket taking spinners but chuck Steve O'Keefe in there, or Glenn Maxwell (lengthen the tail), Cam Boyce, Michael Beer, Nathan Hauritz, just not Lyon. commentators have been saying that finger spinners have no success but Boyce is a wrist spinner, so play him and he will fire

  • zenboomerang on December 18, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    Funny no one hasn't brought up Henriques - had an excellent season this year & would be excellent as a no.6 with allrounder abilities - Warner, Watto then Cowan, Hughes, Hussey, Henriques, Wade, Siddle, Starc, 3rd seamer, Lyon... Watto wont have to bowl so much & there would be 8 bowling options available...

    As Johnson is the official 12th man for this Test, then he will be an obvious 1st pick... If Henriques played at no.6 then I'd like to see an outright fast bowler or someone who has shown good seam use for years like Butterworth (& can bat)...

  • on December 18, 2012, 0:27 GMT

    Usman in for Clarke (if not fit), Johnson in for Hilfy, Watso to captain. Why is this even being debated? Some may not like thes choices but we all know what's going to happen.

    I say give Watto the chance - it's only one test match and if he does a bad job then at least the selectors will know his limitations. You can't make a bloke vice captain and then not hand him the reins when the captain is injured. What else is a VC for?

    The other thing to remember is that there isn't much age difference between Clarke and Watson. The selectors never intended for Watson to be handed the captaincy permenantly. He's only got the role as a backup to Clarke, which is fine. The next full-time captain will be one of the "young" batsmen coming through - Hughes, Ussie, Paine... I wouldn't be surprised to see SA, QLD or TAS hand over their Shield captaincy to one of those guys in the near future.

  • Flemo_Gilly on December 17, 2012, 23:43 GMT

    @TerryScot don't mind the idea of Ponting coming in and getting the send off he deserves but it would be unfair to the vice captain watto whose confidence is already down. Looking at Clarke on the field today he looks good, but it would be good to get someone like Khawaja in the squad as a backup as any time near the Aussie players would be fantastic for him.

  • featurewriter on December 17, 2012, 23:31 GMT

    Khawaja and Johnson are in for the Second Test. Just heard from a mate who plays first-class cricket in Queensland. Quiney and Cutting have been included.

  • hycIass on December 17, 2012, 23:11 GMT

    @Rahul_Ashok i take your point on Khawaja not being given the same chance as others and for some reason every time its his turn another player emerges as Haddin as emerged from left field this time. But you will see the current crop of selectors which includes Arthur and Clarke really do reward perfomance and given he has worked on the things that were asked of him in terms of fielidng and running, you will see he will get the call up soon. I think Clarke is doing a good job as selector as its not easy to do when you are captain.

  • crh8971 on December 17, 2012, 22:54 GMT

    I just don't see Watson as a captain, especially given he is really struggling to hold his place as a batting all rounder. An average of 25 over a two year period in tests is not enough to take a top 6 batting position. Based on those figures we would be better off promoting Wade to 6 and bringing in a genuine bowling all rounder like Cutting at 7. Khawaja is the next batsman in line but the captaincy issue might bring Haddin into consideration as he has genuine experience of leading a team. Johnson should be an automatic inclusion for boxing day if Hilfy is not fit as he bowled really well at the WACA.

  • dunger.bob on December 19, 2012, 0:23 GMT

    @ Paul Connell : "wasn't Watson scared of ghosts?" : I do believe you are correct. It certainly rings a bell. .. some castle in England wasn't it? .. he's a sensitive lad our Shane. Very much in tune with the existential. Is there any rule that you have to wear white? The Lankans could all dress in Halloween costumes and force Watto to captain by walkie talkie from the dressing room broom closet. .. just kidding of course. He'll be fine for one Test as captain but not as a long term prospect. Being an allrounder and captain is too much to ask. .. he's not Imran Khan or Kapil Dev.

  • PrasPunter on December 18, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    "Posted by Sinhaya-2 on (December 17 2012, 11:28 AM GMT)

    So clarke goes in to the hiding, he is scared to face us as he knows our boys will chase the remaining runs tomorrow, he thought he can thrash us easily which didn't happen, now he wants Watson to face some beating, let it be!! "

    Do you still mean it, given that we have won ? Show some respect to your opponents mate !!!

  • on December 18, 2012, 5:48 GMT

    Johnson and Khawaja will come in but if it was my choice I would go Doolan and Bird the tassie combo.

  • Buckers410 on December 18, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    Khawaja should deffs come in for Clarke, but Watson captaining is a worry. Coulter-Nile should play over Bird anyday but what about Ben Cutting. Team for Melbourne; 1.Warner 2.Quiney 3.Hughes 4.Khawaja 5.Watson 6. Hussey (c) 7.Wade 8.Siddle 9.Cutting 10.Coulter-Nile 11.A different spinner! I have been saying this all summer. Lyon is not a wicket taker and he never was. There are no wicket taking spinners but chuck Steve O'Keefe in there, or Glenn Maxwell (lengthen the tail), Cam Boyce, Michael Beer, Nathan Hauritz, just not Lyon. commentators have been saying that finger spinners have no success but Boyce is a wrist spinner, so play him and he will fire

  • zenboomerang on December 18, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    Funny no one hasn't brought up Henriques - had an excellent season this year & would be excellent as a no.6 with allrounder abilities - Warner, Watto then Cowan, Hughes, Hussey, Henriques, Wade, Siddle, Starc, 3rd seamer, Lyon... Watto wont have to bowl so much & there would be 8 bowling options available...

    As Johnson is the official 12th man for this Test, then he will be an obvious 1st pick... If Henriques played at no.6 then I'd like to see an outright fast bowler or someone who has shown good seam use for years like Butterworth (& can bat)...

  • on December 18, 2012, 0:27 GMT

    Usman in for Clarke (if not fit), Johnson in for Hilfy, Watso to captain. Why is this even being debated? Some may not like thes choices but we all know what's going to happen.

    I say give Watto the chance - it's only one test match and if he does a bad job then at least the selectors will know his limitations. You can't make a bloke vice captain and then not hand him the reins when the captain is injured. What else is a VC for?

    The other thing to remember is that there isn't much age difference between Clarke and Watson. The selectors never intended for Watson to be handed the captaincy permenantly. He's only got the role as a backup to Clarke, which is fine. The next full-time captain will be one of the "young" batsmen coming through - Hughes, Ussie, Paine... I wouldn't be surprised to see SA, QLD or TAS hand over their Shield captaincy to one of those guys in the near future.

  • Flemo_Gilly on December 17, 2012, 23:43 GMT

    @TerryScot don't mind the idea of Ponting coming in and getting the send off he deserves but it would be unfair to the vice captain watto whose confidence is already down. Looking at Clarke on the field today he looks good, but it would be good to get someone like Khawaja in the squad as a backup as any time near the Aussie players would be fantastic for him.

  • featurewriter on December 17, 2012, 23:31 GMT

    Khawaja and Johnson are in for the Second Test. Just heard from a mate who plays first-class cricket in Queensland. Quiney and Cutting have been included.

  • hycIass on December 17, 2012, 23:11 GMT

    @Rahul_Ashok i take your point on Khawaja not being given the same chance as others and for some reason every time its his turn another player emerges as Haddin as emerged from left field this time. But you will see the current crop of selectors which includes Arthur and Clarke really do reward perfomance and given he has worked on the things that were asked of him in terms of fielidng and running, you will see he will get the call up soon. I think Clarke is doing a good job as selector as its not easy to do when you are captain.

  • crh8971 on December 17, 2012, 22:54 GMT

    I just don't see Watson as a captain, especially given he is really struggling to hold his place as a batting all rounder. An average of 25 over a two year period in tests is not enough to take a top 6 batting position. Based on those figures we would be better off promoting Wade to 6 and bringing in a genuine bowling all rounder like Cutting at 7. Khawaja is the next batsman in line but the captaincy issue might bring Haddin into consideration as he has genuine experience of leading a team. Johnson should be an automatic inclusion for boxing day if Hilfy is not fit as he bowled really well at the WACA.

  • MinusZero on December 17, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    Watson doesnt even deserve selection, never mind being captain. Surely Cutting, Butterworth and Henriques are outperforming him by a long way. Oh, but thats right, he has the gold pass to be selected. Time to select on form, no matter what your name is. Why are the batsmen and bowlers under scrutiny and not the all rounder. Australia went many years without a recognised allrounder. It would be better to have the best batsmen and best bowlers, rather than a half/half player who is not international standard in either discipline

  • Kolpak1989 on December 17, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    Johnson will be in the 11 so whether NCM or Jackson Bird are picked probably doesn't matter too much. I suspect the selectors will put in Haddin as a stop gap because he has alot of experience at test level and this game will only be a one-off until Clarke is fit again. I doubt the selectors would be keen to dint Khawaja or Doolan's confidence by throwing either of them in for just one match where they have no realistic chance or being selected again but every chance of being dismissed cheaply.

  • Shaggy076 on December 17, 2012, 22:12 GMT

    Gordo85 - He played a loose shot in order to try and score runs quickly on a difficult pitch. The lead was set up and needed to push on. How can you say that his technique is still crap due to these circumstances. He showed in the first innings he has improved. EveryoneElse, Yes Khawaja was next in line after Hughes to become the number 3 batsman. A different batsman is needed at #5 and against Sri lanka someone that can dominate spinners in the way Clarke does - Khawaja is a great bat but I think there are better options for the #5 position.

  • Clive_Dunn on December 17, 2012, 21:51 GMT

    Brad Haddin as a specialist batsmen ? Have I been transported into an alternate dimension where Haddin averages more than 36 at test level from number 7 ? It's good to see Aussie cricket has regrouped after the last Ashes debacle and subsequent Argus report & replacement of it's board of selectors. I didn't think that the new dawn of Aussie cricket would involve the same old sub-standard bunch of players though, if I was Steve Smith I'd sue for discrimination.

  • wellrounded87 on December 17, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    @jonesy2 NCN is averaging 33 at a strike rate of 58 this year. How does that make him the obvious choice over cutting who is averaging 21 at s/r of 36?

    As for batting i don't think it should be khawaja as it's only a one off test and khawaja is far too passive to replace someone like Clarke. Khawaja should come in to repace hussey when he retires or if Hughes fails to fire replace hughes. I think someone like Doolan should come in for this to expose him to test level and he could possibly be very damaging at 5/6 and have a real impact on the test

  • on December 17, 2012, 21:02 GMT

    Is no one else thinking of George Bailey, been consistent with the bat for a number of years, and one of the best leaders in Australia, Slot him into no.6 hussey to no.5 and then have Hussey, Bailey helping Watson out. Cowan also has captaincy experience leading the Australia A team to england last year, and a few Chairmans XI games. Putting George Bailey in will guarentee you a couple of runs, very good fielder and solid leadership, and he is long overdue a test cap, hasnt let anyone down so far in t20i and ODI's so far.

  • EdwardTLogan on December 17, 2012, 20:42 GMT

    Maybe Bob Simpson is available ala 1977? Seriously, I'd bring Johnson into the 11 for Hilfy and either Quiney or Khawaja for Pup if he doesn't play. I have a sneaking suspicion Clarke will play anyway...

  • Digimont on December 17, 2012, 20:10 GMT

    @Gordo85 - it may have been ugly, but the chase was on, and he still made 10 more than Ponting would have done and about 80 more in the first dig.

  • liverkewe11 on December 17, 2012, 19:50 GMT

    The problem with Quiney or Khawaja is that we are already 1-2 right handers short with 2 in the top 7. Bring in a left handed batsman to replace Clarke and there is only 1 right handed batsman in the top 7, and he is our most out of form batsman in Watson.

  • Alonelypontingfan on December 17, 2012, 19:46 GMT

    Ponting!!!!!!!!!! Khawaja + Johnson

  • on December 17, 2012, 19:22 GMT

    callum ferguson???? maybe even tim paine i think haddin would be a backwards step!! cutting bird or coulter-nile

  • Fareen on December 17, 2012, 19:07 GMT

    Or maybe I'm too pessimistic but selectors can give Mark Cosgrove a chance. He's been doing well for a long time now and already has international experience.

  • Fareen on December 17, 2012, 19:03 GMT

    Why not Ferguson? Move Hussey up one spot and play ferguson at no.4. And I really think Bird would be a better choice than johnson.

  • MrArmchairCricket on December 17, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    For Melbourne, I'd definitely consider Quiney ahead of most, because a) he bats well at the MCG and b) if he's not opening, he's better suited to number 5 rather than 3. Khawaja is the only other choice for mine, moving Watson down to 5 in the process. As for the replacement for Hilfy, it's hard to choose, simply because most of those who are in line for selection are playing the Big Bash, and IIRC Mitch Starc wasn't considered for the first two tests against South Africa, because he'd been bowling a bit too much with the white ball? That said, Cutting should be ahead of Jackson Bird, not just because of his bowling, but because his batting is more than useful.

    So basically: Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Khawaja/Watson, Quiney/Watson, Hussey, +Wade, Cutting, Siddle, Starc, Lyon. Bird and Coulter-Nile should be in the squad, just in case.

  • SKC412 on December 17, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    Why all this worry? There is one Quiney who is not supposed to hold any grudge whatsoever...

  • swervin on December 17, 2012, 16:23 GMT

    though watson has probably been the most improved player in the world in the past 3 years (though his batting has been lean this year) and he is one of the first picked in the team if available, it is a slightly scary prospect having him as captain - also aus should forget about haddin and find someone else

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on December 17, 2012, 14:55 GMT

    @jonesy2, don't forget that you labelled Phil Hughes as 'the next Bradman'. Look where that got you... :)

  • on December 17, 2012, 14:34 GMT

    Jackson Bird and Usman!!!

  • on December 17, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    wasn't Watson scared of ghosts?

  • on December 17, 2012, 13:43 GMT

    i think one thing that works in Haddin's favor is that he has experience at being a captain of nsw's and would be able to help watson out alot the and really is it that much of a loss to play without Ben Hilfenhaus almost any fast bowler in the country is better then him i also think its not very good that theres no real future captain in the team or around the team i mean i like watson but hes the same age as clarke i dont think hes the next captain whos the next captain

  • on December 17, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    If it is one off, get Ponting back to cover for Clarke and captain ahead of the soft option Watson. It is one off, but it does expose how limited Australia's options are. Or perhaps even Paine?

  • Herath-UK on December 17, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    @wibblewibble,there are two sides to a coin mate. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • cheapskate on December 17, 2012, 13:02 GMT

    Jordan Silk to replace Clarke for the boxing day test. HaHa nah Silky is a good lad who will play for Australia i guarantee

  • Mary_786 on December 17, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    @Rahul_Ashok i agree with you that Khawaja has been unlucky to this date but keep in mind that Inevarity in his last announcement stated that they are very pleased with Khawaja and his move to the Bulls, so they are going to reward performance mate and no i don't think selectors will go against him because of his background, we are well passed that mate.

  • Mary_786 on December 17, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    @BrendanCarter is correct. Khawaja would have been a very close second to Hughes when Punter retired so if the selectors don't reward him then something is not right. Coulter-Nile or Bird for me too. ,Starc is improving every game and i would stick with him.

  • Gordo85 on December 17, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    Did anyone see that lazy shot that Phil Hughes did in Australia's second innings? And this is the guy who is replacing Ricky Ponting in the team. To me when he chopped the ball back on to the stumps it still looked like the old Phil Hughes. I think Australia may still have some trouble I mean this guy said he was working really hard on fixing his techique up and it may have worked but when he chopped the ball back on to his stumps it was flat out shocking !. I say drop the guy you can't put up with that kind of junk like that.(or maybe it was because he was not opening the batting) I know they won't drop him but what if this keeps on happening? then they may be forced to bring in Usman.

  • Shaggy076 on December 17, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    Cant understand why everyone is obsesed with Khawaja yes a good cricketer but averaging 40 this year needs a bit of work. Too pick him we would go in with 5 top order batsman, we need an agressive middle order batsman ie D Hussey or S Smith. I wouldnt worry too much about picking for the future when its a one off game and Dave Hussey has deserved a test match for along time. As for bowlers Butterworth, Bird figures have been increased by playing on substandard Hobart decks. Putland got 12 wickets on the MCG just a few weeks ago and worth a crack. There is a long line of capables including Bird, Coulter-Nile, Cutting and Richardson but whoever it is is likely to be 12th man as Johnson has deserved another crack through his performance in Perth.

  • jonesy2 on December 17, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    bird anc NCN are the obvious choices to replace hilfenhaus in the squad. would love to see jimmy faulkner given a chance aswell the guy is incredibly talented i dont think he has ever bowled badly in his life.

  • jonesy2 on December 17, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    this is a non article because arthur was just saying that watson would lead australia if michael missed the match that is all. the extent of michaels injury is unknown

  • Slysta on December 17, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    Personally, I think we should do the common-sense thing, which is pray that Clarke will in fact be fit for Boxing Day. It's still 9 days away, and Kallis played in Perth off a shorter break. Depends on the severity of the strain I suppose. Failing that, Watson must lead the team, and yes, he will find that difficult, as he is already struggling with the bat and it seems likely that captaincy will deprive him of his (thus far commendable) focus with the ball. But there is no other way. Hussey is not the answer, as his resume consists solely of a blackwash by New Zealand in the 2007 Chappell-Hadlee series :/. Regarding the bowlers, hopefully not to big a deal at this stage as presumably the addition to the squad will be carrying the drinks anyway... unless Arthur's comments are code for "we must never play Starc and Johnson in the same Test attack again", in which case it really does matter. PICK A PROPER BOWLER! I too prefer Cutting to Bird, with Coulter-Nile being a bit 2011, really.

  • KrisMcDonald on December 17, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    Ben Cutting. All day, every day. But Johnson will get picked in the first 11 so it probably doesn't matter which bowler is in the 12. I would say Khawaja should be Clarke's replacement but who knows what will happen. Big call to throw Usman in for one test where he really can't win - knowing that the skipper will come back in even if he makes a big score and the knives will go in if he fails. Tough gig. Maybe Quiney would be better suited having played as a stop gap player earlier in the summer. But like I said, who knows?

  • Micgyver on December 17, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    Bird should replace Hilfenhaus and Haddin replace Clarke if he cant play.Bird deserves a shot.Haddin has batted well this year and can assist Watson in a senior leadership role.And lets face, soon as Clarke is back his replacement will be dropped.

  • Solace1 on December 17, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    So clarke goes in to the hiding, he is scared to face us as he knows our boys will chase the remaining runs tomorrow, he thought he can thrash us easily which didn't happen, now he wants Watson to face some beating, let it be!!

  • Sunil_Batra on December 17, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    Reading the comments on Haddin suddenly sprining up makes you think. i think mickey arthur and the NSP have been quite inconsistent. cowan has had 4+ series, hughes had a 3rd comeback to prove their test quality. khwaja after only 6 tests including a match winning innings against south africa, was dropped. then when watto was injured, the options were quiney, hughes, khawaja. then after quiney played poorly the options were hughes, khawaja, doolan. now that there's injury, all of a sudden haddin (long gone for wade) is now back in contention and back to quiney. really portrays a poor image of their consistency and professionalism. One must ask if Khawaja's background is working against him, i sincerely hope not.

  • BG4cricket on December 17, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    I think I would go with Haddin particularly to give Watto and Huss support as otherwise the team is pretty inexperienced. This is obviously not a permanent replacement scenario and likely for one Test no matter what SL if makes little sense going with Khawaja only to then drop him no matter what he does. For the bowling times are getting desperate as there are hardly any bowlers left but the contenders would be Cutting, Bird and the forgotten Luke Butterworth who has consistently been near the top of the Shield honours for many years. Personally I would go with Cutting who bowls with excellent pace and can swing the ball - Shield figures can be a little bit of a chimera and I think the others lack the extra yard of pace needed against international batsmen.

  • on December 17, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    Khawaja, is the best option, too replace Clarke, should have played ahead of Hughes, in Hobart. Cutting bowls too short, always has, bowling coaches have tried too get into his thick head, but he is his own man. Coulter-Nile, for me, pace, bounce, and a nasty fast bowlers attitude. Siddle`, needs assistance from somebody, Starc`, is still learning his trade, doing a fine job at the same time, we are bowling our best, most consistent bowler, (Pete Siddle), into the ground. One of our young fast bowlers, need too put their hand-up, so that Siddle, does not need too bowl himself into the ground, test after test. Somebody!, show you can do the job, so Peter Siddle, does not have an early end too his career, from being over-bowled, due too lack of options for Michael Clarke.

  • Sunil_Batra on December 17, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    @Edwards_A Khawaja must be the guy for the squad to backup Clarke. For me the biggest improvement in Khawaja's game has been his fielding and running between the wickets. In the Ryobi and big bash games I have seen intend and urgency in his game which was missing last year.Selectors have already acknoweldged the same as well.Inevarity stated the same when he announced Hughes as the replacement saying they were pleased with Khawaja, now is the time to reward him. Under Lehman he has improved the things that were asked of him and he should be rewarded.

  • on December 17, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    I'm worried that Arthur lists the two worst possible candidates (Haddin and Quiney) first when talking about who could replace Clarke. Then I see Jackson Bird's name finally come up, and he DID mention Khawaja, so there is at least a smidgen of sanity about..

  • Digimont on December 17, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    Love to know what the selectors criteria is...selection for the future, or the present? If for the present, then Gary Putland is the form bowler right at the moment. If there is a queue, then he isn't near the head of it.

  • wibblewibble on December 17, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    @Herath-UK: Bit harsh to say Malinga is 'opting out', don't you think? He's played a long time for SL, you can't keep bowling that speed for 5 days and not get injured.

    In other words, if he hadn't stopped playing Test cricket, he would have been unable to play any cricket, so fair play on him for making the most of his talent while he can.

  • Flemo_Gilly on December 17, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    @potofazherbaizan surely Watto as vice captain must take the captaincy otherwise imagine the affect it will have on his performances. Also reading that Haddin may be picke,d that will be a very negative move. it is time to forget the old veterans of such as brad haddin. It is time to blood the new generation such as khawaja and Doolan, they are the future.Khawaja has the edge as he has outscored Doolan in the last 5-6 games.

  • derpherp on December 17, 2012, 10:53 GMT

    @ George Janev. LOL Oh the irony of that comment. Why even bother really?

  • Edwards_Anderson on December 17, 2012, 10:51 GMT

    The selectors brought Hughes in to replace Ponting with a view to the future and Starc was preferred over Johnson for the same reason and i agreed 100% with these views. So how the hec could they even be thinking of bringing Haddin back when he is clearly not part of the future. Khawaja or Ferguson should be picked and Haddin should not even be considered.

  • Herath-UK on December 17, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    Sri Lanka are playing with a depleted lot of fast bowlers due to injuries and the one making records in the BBL (Malinga) opting out so it will be a 'balanced' opposition at the boxing day Test.Hope Lankans will pull off the deserved victory then. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • on December 17, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    Id go Cutting tbh. Good aggression and great batting at 8. Could well score a test hundred from there. Hes well on the way to becoming a bowling all rounder. not sure about Bird - he wasnt particularly effective in a wet English summer for the A team earlier this year.

  • wix99 on December 17, 2012, 10:17 GMT

    Haddin would be an interesting choice as a stand in captain. He has form with the bat and a lot of Test experience. It would also be a way for him to get some recognition after he had to leave the team in the West Indies for family reasons.

  • potofazherbaizan on December 17, 2012, 10:17 GMT

    @cheapskate True Watson has been failing in batting but that is due to his long break and he just needs to settle in the middle. His bowling, even at this stage has been far from rubbish;almost outstanding. And he is a key wicket tacker when needed.

  • Paul_Rampley on December 17, 2012, 10:02 GMT

    @Macca_mat and Aziz Mustafa are correct, Khawaja is the man to replace Clarke if our best batsman is injured. Khawaja's top scores in shield came against Tasmania on a green deck where he scored 138 and Tasmania got 95 and 140 which included batsman asuch as Doolan, Bailey and Cosgrove. He also got 2 half centuries against a star NSW attack(Starc, Hazelwood, Bollinger, Copeland, O Keefe) in Bulls win at the AB Oval where both teams scored less then 200.

  • Meety on December 17, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    @wellrounded87 on (December 17 2012, 08:55 AM GMT) - yep, I agree re: Cutting. I would have him as the next man in. By rights - it should be Bird or Butterworth, but I think Cutting's extra pace will be the deciding factor & I think he'll look good batting @ # 8! @George Janev - Good! We don't need care! Do you really even follow cricket?

  • ozwriter on December 17, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    i quite rate watto as a player. easily in australias top 3 players if not the best (along with clarke and hussey). would be great to see the VC lead the team.

  • ozwriter on December 17, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    if there's a bowler's list they are working through, then surely theres a batters list. and if hughes and khwaja were at the top of that list leading into this test, then the choice for clarke's replacement is obvious.

  • Shaggy076 on December 17, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    Watto appears to be the only choice as captain cant see anyone else with the credentials in the team. I dont think you can pick a Khawaja to replace Clarke, you need someone agressive in the Clarke mould and I would suggest D Hussey, S Smith or Haddin. As for bowler I would think it would be between Bird or Cutting.

  • ozwriter on December 17, 2012, 9:28 GMT

    i think mickey arthur and the NSP have been quite inconsistent. cowan has had 4+ series, hughes had a 3rd comeback to prove their test quality. khwaja after only 6 tests including a match winning innings against south africa, was dropped. then when watto was injured, the options were quiney, hughes, khawaja. then after quiney played poorly the options were hughes, khawaja, doolan. now that there's injury, all of a sudden haddin (long gone for wade) is now back in contention and back to quiney. really portrays a poor image of their consistency and professionalism.

  • on December 17, 2012, 9:28 GMT

    If Prima Donna Clarke is in the field on the 5th day, I'll barrack for the opposition till his retirement or sacking.

  • BatsmanWhoBowls on December 17, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    @HycIass, where have you been mate, hughes is in the team

  • on December 17, 2012, 9:15 GMT

    If Clarke isn't fit Aus 2nd test possiable are 1.Warner 2.Henary 3.Hughes 4.Watson 5.Khawaja 6.Hussey 7.Haddin/Wade 8.Johnstion 9.Siddle 10.Starc 11.Lyon

  • on December 17, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    The idea of Shane Watson captaining the team seems scary if not disturbing. LOL ! I think Watson can lead the team PROVIDED they get Khawaja and Bird in.

  • cheapskate on December 17, 2012, 9:01 GMT

    If creampuff Watson is the captain on boxing day i won't watch the game. The creampuff doesnt deserve to be in the side his batting is terrible his bowling is rubbish and he is a liability in the field. But then again he will most likely breakdown tomorrow anyway fingers crossed

  • wellrounded87 on December 17, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    Coulter-Nile???? really??? Whatever happened to rewarding performance and the argus review. Coulter-Nile has done nothing in shield this year. Ben Cutting 34 wickets at an average of 21.05 and a strike rate of 36.7. Nathan Coulter-Nile. 32 wickets at an average of 33.78 and a strike rate of 58.8. And i don't think Jackson Bird has played enough cricket to be accurately judged. At least what we've seen isn't impressive enough to justify picking him over cutting

    And also lets not forget Cutting is averaging around 40 with the bat. Why are QLDers completely overlooked when they have dominated sheffield shield for 2 years now

  • on December 17, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    Please no! Watson should never captain Australia! He barely manages to do two jobs at once, is it too late to bring Ponting back as captain for one last game?

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 17, 2012, 8:46 GMT

    I can see tomorrows headline, Ponting announces his comeback. haha

  • Mary_786 on December 17, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    Watto is ready to cover for Clarke if required, he is vice captain for this very reason. Khawaja to come in as batting replacement though i do hope Clarke is fit for the next game as we need him.

  • on December 17, 2012, 8:39 GMT

    Gilchrist got a go at the captaincy in India with good results when he clearly wasn't Ponting's successor so why shouldn't Hussey get a go? He would be the most deserving in my opinion.

  • hycIass on December 17, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    I think Watto will be the best choice, this is only for 1 game and Watson has the respect of his team mates and can lead with both bat and bowl. As for Clarke's replacement I think Khawaja is the man, along with Hughes has been the leading shield batsman this year and deserves an opportunity to come in.

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  • hycIass on December 17, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    I think Watto will be the best choice, this is only for 1 game and Watson has the respect of his team mates and can lead with both bat and bowl. As for Clarke's replacement I think Khawaja is the man, along with Hughes has been the leading shield batsman this year and deserves an opportunity to come in.

  • on December 17, 2012, 8:39 GMT

    Gilchrist got a go at the captaincy in India with good results when he clearly wasn't Ponting's successor so why shouldn't Hussey get a go? He would be the most deserving in my opinion.

  • Mary_786 on December 17, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    Watto is ready to cover for Clarke if required, he is vice captain for this very reason. Khawaja to come in as batting replacement though i do hope Clarke is fit for the next game as we need him.

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 17, 2012, 8:46 GMT

    I can see tomorrows headline, Ponting announces his comeback. haha

  • on December 17, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    Please no! Watson should never captain Australia! He barely manages to do two jobs at once, is it too late to bring Ponting back as captain for one last game?

  • wellrounded87 on December 17, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    Coulter-Nile???? really??? Whatever happened to rewarding performance and the argus review. Coulter-Nile has done nothing in shield this year. Ben Cutting 34 wickets at an average of 21.05 and a strike rate of 36.7. Nathan Coulter-Nile. 32 wickets at an average of 33.78 and a strike rate of 58.8. And i don't think Jackson Bird has played enough cricket to be accurately judged. At least what we've seen isn't impressive enough to justify picking him over cutting

    And also lets not forget Cutting is averaging around 40 with the bat. Why are QLDers completely overlooked when they have dominated sheffield shield for 2 years now

  • cheapskate on December 17, 2012, 9:01 GMT

    If creampuff Watson is the captain on boxing day i won't watch the game. The creampuff doesnt deserve to be in the side his batting is terrible his bowling is rubbish and he is a liability in the field. But then again he will most likely breakdown tomorrow anyway fingers crossed

  • on December 17, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    The idea of Shane Watson captaining the team seems scary if not disturbing. LOL ! I think Watson can lead the team PROVIDED they get Khawaja and Bird in.

  • on December 17, 2012, 9:15 GMT

    If Clarke isn't fit Aus 2nd test possiable are 1.Warner 2.Henary 3.Hughes 4.Watson 5.Khawaja 6.Hussey 7.Haddin/Wade 8.Johnstion 9.Siddle 10.Starc 11.Lyon

  • BatsmanWhoBowls on December 17, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    @HycIass, where have you been mate, hughes is in the team