Michael Clarke’s hamstring strain has opened a can of worms for Australian cricket, as the debate of who should lead Australia in next week’s Boxing Day Test, should Clarke not recover, gains spectacular intrigue.
In the absence of Clarke, his deputy Shane Watson would seemingly be favourite to lead on arguably the biggest day in the Australian cricketing calendar.
However, the jury is still out on how to effectively manage his workload without succumbing to injury.
The captaincy would only further burden Watson, who is coming off the most strenuous bowling return of his career, sending down 47.4 overs in Australia’s 11th hour, 137-run victory in Hobart.
More importantly for the Australians is Watson’s form with the bat and so far this summer, he is yet to hit full flight.
Australian cricket constantly asks a lot of the champion all-rounder, surely the added pressure of captaining your country would only further weigh on Watson’s hulking shoulders.
John Inverarity and company would be well advised to think outside the box for this particular scenario should it eventuate, and select the one member of the current Test team who has epitomised pride, determination and mental toughness in recent times.
Peter Siddle has been outstanding for the past 18 months and just reward for the patriotic Victorian would be to lead his country into battle at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, his home.
Although bowling captains are scarce on the international scene, the merits of Siddle leading could potentially lift his game further as he aspires to inspire his teammates.
As a bowler he is a captain’s dream as he runs in all day and puts his heart and soul into every delivery. As a captain, Siddle would be a bowler’s dream as he understands a bowler’s wants and needs.
As is the case under Clarke’s tenure, attacking fields would be a formality. The distinct advantage Siddle possess is he understands the art of bowling and furthermore a bowler’s thought process.
Siddle would be an inspired choice and would allow Watson to focus on his batting, which, in the absence of the prolific Clarke, will be vital to the outcome.