Haddin in frame for recall if Clarke ruled out

DAVID BENUIK
Last updated 23:31 17/12/2012
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LIFELINE: Former Australian test wicket-keeper Brad Haddin could be recalled as a specialist batsman if Michael Clarke is ruled out of the Boxing Day test.

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Australian selectors will consider picking former test keeper Brad Haddin as a specialist batsman if captain Michael Clarke's injury rules him out of matches in Melbourne or Sydney.

The 35-year-old, who has controversially been overlooked for Matthew Wade this summer, could be thrown a lifeline if Clarke's hamstring problem stops him playing either of the remaining tests against Sri Lanka from Boxing Day.

Haddin has averaged 67.40 in the Sheffield Shield for NSW this season and former captain Steve Waugh recently suggested he should be considered for a batsman-only role.

"We'll discuss that tonight," Australian coach Mickey Arthur said.

"That batter, whoever it is, would have to be part of our extended squad. There's possibilities.

"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."

Australia will no doubt try to everything they can to get Clarke onto the MCG in a week's time but, if he is prescribed a rest period, vice-captain Shane Watson will almost certainly take over as skipper.

Former test No 3 Khawaja has thrived playing for his new state Queensland with a brilliant century on a tough Hobart pitch and three 50s in Shield cricket so far.

Bulls coach Darren Lehmann believes Khawaja has addressed selectors' concerns about his sharpness at the crease and in the field.

Tasmania's Doolan made 161 not out for Australia A against South Africa, while Quiney would be getting a second chance after he made just nine runs in his two matches against the Proteas.

Injuries have decimated what had been a deep pool of fast bowlers, with Hilfenhaus one of seven pacemen who could have been considered.

Selectors are likely to turn to 12th man for Hobart Mitchell Johnson, whose return in Perth after a 12-month absence was encouraging.

Tasmania's Jackson Bird sits atop the leading wicket-takers list for the second straight season and will be considered as back-up along with West Australian Nathan Coulter-Nile.

"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.

"The names that have been on everyone's lips are a guy like Jackson Bird, it could be Nathan Coulter-Nile, and that will form part of the discussions."

Complicating matters is a lack of first class cricket while the Big Bash League is completed.

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The Sheffield Shield season was suspended at the end of November and the next match won't begin until the end of January.

- AAP

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