Melbourne: Former Australian skipper Steve Waugh tipped wicketkeeper-batsmen Brad Haddin or Tim Paine as future national captains as pressure intensified on incumbent Ricky Ponting.
The heat is on Ponting as he faces losing a third Ashes series with England holding a commanding 346-run lead after the second day of the fourth Test.
In his assessment Waugh overlooked vice-captain Michael Clarke as Ponting`s heir apparent and raised the possibility of either Haddin or Paine taking over after the five-Test Ashes series, which ends in Sydney next week.
Ponting, 36, has toiled with the bat this series notching just 93 runs in the series at 15.50, while Clarke, 29, is averaging only 22.50 from his six innings against England.
"That`s the burning question right now: who potentially is the next captain?" Waugh said on television.
"Obviously, Ricky is still there right now. If he wasn`t to be there tomorrow, you would assume Michael Clarke would get the role.”
"He`s been groomed for it, he`s done it in the shorter form of the game and done pretty well.”
"But for some reason there`s question marks over Michael Clarke."
Haddin, 33, has captained New South Wales and also led Australia in two Twenty20 matches, while Tasmanian Paine, 26, will lead the Prime Minister`s XI against England at in Canberra on January 10.
Waugh said he sees both as potential Australian Test captains.
"I always believe there`s three or four players in the side who can captain the team, but probably haven`t revealed those skills because they haven`t had the chance," he said.
"Haddin`s had a bit of experience, but the one who I think is interesting that I think about is probably Tim Paine. He gets a few mentions.”