Australia v New Zealand 2011-12 December 4, 2011

Christian has strong chance to debut

A commanding defeat of New Zealand inside four days will not stop Australia from considering a debut for the allrounder Daniel Christian as insurance against the risk of overextending the hosts' youthful bowling attack in the second of back-to-back Test matches.

Christian, 28, was placed on standby for the injured Ben Cutting on the final morning of a nine-wicket victory over New Zealand at the Gabba, and seems certain to join the team in Hobart when it arrives on Tuesday after enjoying a day off in Brisbane.

The margin of Australia's victory over the visitors may remove some of the urgency for the national selectors to rush back any of the injured quintet that missed selection for the first Test. Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Shaun Marsh are definitely out of the picture, while Shane Watson and Pat Cummins appear likely to be held back for the greater challenge of India, starting with the first Test on Boxing Day. This places Christian's free-scoring batting and clever seam bowling very much in the frame for Hobart.

"I think it is a good option to have both," Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, said. "That's probably why, because he gives us options and that's what we're looking at in regards to the wicket in Hobart. We don't know what we're going to get, it is always nice to have another option in regards to your bowling, I think a batsman that can bowl a bit.

"I've used Huss [Michael Hussey] over the last few Tests, and he [Christian] has performed well for South Australia, so at this stage he's been put on standby for Cuttsy, but he does present a few options, no doubt."

It is a fine reward for Christian, who is on top of the Sheffield Shield run tally this season with 475 at 59.37 for South Australia. Christian has also taken ten wickets this summer and was last year judged the most valuable player across all formats in Australian domestic cricket by the Australian Cricketers' Association. Christian, 28, has played three Twenty20 internationals, all of which came in early 2010.

Cutting was the unlucky bowler to miss out on a place in the first Test against New Zealand at the Gabba, where the selectors preferred Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson.

He flew to Melbourne to play in Queensland's Sheffield Shield game against Victoria but bowled only nine overs due to his injury. Scans revealed that Cutting had a small muscle tear in his side, which will sideline him for four to six weeks, ruling him out of consideration for at least the first two Tests of the India series.

And due to the lack of Sheffield Shield cricket in January, when only the Big Bash League is on, Cutting is unlikely to be considered for any of the India Tests with no four-day cricket in which to prove himself.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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