Haddin to captain if Clarke absent

Wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin will captain Australia in next month’s Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, if regular skipper Michael Clarke is absent.

Clarke has been ruled out of the limited-overs leg of the tour due to a recurring hamstring injury. He aggravated the grievance during the recent tri-series with Zimbabwe and South Africa at the Harare Sports Club.

The 36-year-old Haddin, meanwhile, has led the country in two Twenty20 Internationals – against New Zealand and Pakistan in 2009 – but never in the longest format.

“We talk about that a contingency plan behind the scenes as a selection panel,” said coach Darren Lehmann.

“The thing is we want our best player playing. Michael has been a fantastic player for us for over 100 Test matches now and we need our number four playing and making runs.”

The Pakistanis and Australians will meet for a one-off Twenty20 International, three ODIs and two Tests – in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi – between 5 October and 3 November.