Brad Haddin says he’s ready to step up as Test captain if duty calls but he hopes it doesn’t because the Australia team needs Michael Clarke.
The 37-year-old Haddin was on Monday named to return from injury as deputy to skipper Clarke in the 12-man national squad for the first Test against India at the Gabba from December 4.
However there remains a big question mark over Clarke, who was selected subject to fitness as he continues to receive treatment for his chronic back and hamstring issues.
The skipper is yet to resume running but is slated to return and attempt to prove his fitness in the two-day tour game against India starting on Friday in Adelaide.
Wicketkeeper Haddin said he had faith Clarke would be fit and ready to play, and hadn’t really considered stepping up to replace him as Test skipper.
“Michael looks like he’s going in the right direction,” Haddin told reporters in Sydney.
“(The captaincy is) not something I’ve thought about, until I get the call that Michael can’t play.
“I’m a real good vice-captain. I don’t know about captain.
“(But) if the time comes and that’s the decision they decide to go with, I’m comfortable … I can lead a cricket team.”
Clarke was the team’s best player and wouldn’t have been named in the 12-man squad unless he was a realistic chance, Haddin insisted.
“Fingers crossed – he’s our best player and we need him,” he said.
Haddin said his own injury woes had resolved themselves with the shoulder he damaged in the second Test against Pakistan now showing no signs of discomfort.
“I was a bit nervous the first five days I was home but over the last seven days I’ve been able to do everything pain free,” he said.
“I had a dive on Saturday and there was no discomfort at all.”
But asked if this summer would be his last playing Test cricket, Haddin said he wasn’t thinking that far ahead.
He said the Australians’ knowledge of their home conditions would be an advantage this series, and would help ensure they weren’t outplayed as they were by Pakistan in the UAE.