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Who will replace Michael Clarke for Boxing Day?

By Martin Smith, Yahoo!7 December 18, 2012, 2:17 pm

A veteran wicketkeeper, a promising youngster, an uncapped Tasmanian and a Victorian left-hander are fighting it out to replace captain Michael Clarke for the Boxing Day Test.

Clarke is expected to be ruled out of the second Test against Sri Lanka after injuring his hamstring in Hobart on Sunday.

While the absence of the skipper will hurt Australia in the field, the hole Clarke will leave in Australia's batting order will prove almost impossible to fill.

Speaking on Sunday, coach Mickey Arthur nominated the four men most likely to replace Clarke.

"(Brad) Haddin's one of them, (Rob) Quiney's one of them and certainly Usman Khawaja's very much in the frame, Alex Doolan's played well,'' Arthur said.

"We'll have those discussions tonight, (there's) no clarity just yet."

As selectors ponder who to pick, we take a closer look at the four men in line.

What the selectors like
With Ponting and now Clarke out of the side, Haddin's 43 Tests of experience will be a welcome addition on Boxing Day. His time as captain of NSW will also come in handy with the untried Shane Watson set to take over as skipper. Despite having a season interrupted by T20 commitments, Haddin's form with the bat has been promising.

What they don't like
Giving Haddin another Test could be viewed as a step backwards after selectors opted for Matthew Wade as Australia's No.1 wicketkeeper at the start of the summer. At 35, Haddin's career is nearer the end than the beginning and his inclusion will deny a young batsman a chance to establish himself. And while Haddin has done it before, having a regular wicketkeeper in the outfield is far from ideal.

What the selectors like
Khawaja has long been viewed as a genuine 10-year Test player and has already shown some signs that he is up to international standard. His Sheffield Shield form has been good, with his century on a green wicket in Hobart regarded by state coach Darren Lehmann as one of the best he's ever seen in domestic cricket. If Khawaja is part of Australia's Ashes plans, now is the time to play him.

What they don't like
The problems selectors have with Khawaja have been widely documented. They view him as a one-dimensional batsman, poor at running between wickets and a liability in the field.

What the selectors like
Selectors view Quiney as the anti-Khawaja; a good all-round batsman, an excellent gully fieldsman who can bowl some overs if required. Despite his poor series against South Africa, Quiney has plenty of first-class runs under his belt in recent years, including a polished innings for Australia A against the Proteas.

What they don't like
Obviously, Quiney's three failures against South Africa will loom large when selectors consider giving him another chance.

What the selectors like
Doolan has been one of the leading run-scorers in Sheffield Shield cricket this season and scored a brilliant unbeaten 161 for Australia A against the Proteas. He doesn't play much limited overs cricket and his temperament may work in his favour.

What they don't like
Unlike the other candidates, Doolan is relatively untested at first-class level. This season has been a breakthrough for him and he may need another two or three big summers under his belt to break into the side.

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  1. paulski06:45pm Tuesday 18th December 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    It MUST be Khawaja. Haddin's done, Quiney's had his chance this year (and failed), and Doolan...who??

  2. jimmy2doors04:40pm Tuesday 18th December 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    HUSSY you wankers

  3. maximus04:00pm Tuesday 18th December 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    The media and shayne warne talk up him to come back for ashes tour well lets bring back steve Waugh to add some mongrel and fire into our team can't bowl a team out twice. Too soft , and I don't think Clarke or any one else has the killer instinct to succeed.

  4. Anthony02:41pm Tuesday 18th December 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    im sorry brad but if clarkey cant plat blood a young one its only way to go




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