Melbourne, Dec 20: Michael Clarke is likely to debut as Australian Test captain in the Boxing Day Test, if incumbent skipper Ricky Ponting's fractured finger doesn't heal in time.
Australia has named an unchanged 12-man Ashes squad for the Boxing Day clash that could attract a world-record 100,000 spectators on the opening day.
Ponting is confident of being fit for one of the great occasions on Australia's sporting calendar, despite X-rays revealing a fracture to the little finger of his left hand. He played the Boxing Day Test in 2009 carrying an elbow injury, scoring a half-century, but was clearly hampered throughout the game.
"There was no doubt that I was hindered last year and to tell you the truth, I probably learned a fair bit from that," FOX Sports quoted Ponting, as saying. "I'm not going to be silly and put myself ahead of the team, especially in such an important game. If I don't think I can function well, then I won't play. But if I feel that I can function and play."
Ponting will wait until the morning of the Boxing Day game to make his call. But Clarke's possible call-up as captain is uncertain amidst claims for the selection panel that they have lost faith in his leadership skills. However, there is no one else near suited to filling Ponting's shoes.
"I honestly think with it being a little finger on my left hand, it's probably not as significant as my elbow was last year," he said. "I'm going to have as much treatment and look after it as well as I can the next few days. What sort of a percentage am I to play? I think I'm a really good chance of playing. It's only a small fracture. It's a bit sore and angry at the moment but I'll be right."