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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harvey on December 4, 2011, 23:18 GMT

    Why isn't Luke Butterworth considered? He is slightly younger, has a batting average that is almost the same (28.01 christian 30.09) but his bowling average is far better (24.37 to 35.06)

  • Dummy4 on December 4, 2011, 22:21 GMT

    Mitch Marsh, hey, ,jonesy2? Batting avge of 21 and 22 wkts from 16 FC matches. Haven't heard any hype and don't see why there should be any. Being a Marsh boy, for sure, he'll be picked in the near future but it won't be on merit.

  • vishal on December 4, 2011, 22:16 GMT

    reading those last few paragraphs...cutting has got to be one of the most unlucky men around lol

  • Peter on December 4, 2011, 22:15 GMT

    Deary me. Dan Christian is terrible! He's the equivalent of Darren Stevens or Dimitri Mascarenhas in England!

  • Alexander on December 4, 2011, 21:57 GMT

    Dan Christian would be nice in the ODI team and T20 team this summer!

  • Jay on December 4, 2011, 19:57 GMT

    I don't care much about Aussie cricket but I do see some decent kids on the block here. It will be a test for them against a good Indian team. Daniel Christian from what I have seen of him is a good player. But I feel he won't make the XI once Watson and the others return. Nevertheless, I am looking ahead to the next ASHES series. It's gonna be fruitcakes !!! YUM.. can't wait !!

  • kan on December 4, 2011, 19:27 GMT

    against NZ, Australia should experiment more, it will be great to give Dan Christian a debut match, by giving rest to Ponting or Hussey.

  • Bryn on December 4, 2011, 16:47 GMT

    VivGilchrist -- mitch marsh is going to be greatest allrounder since jaques kallis. believe the hype. he along with pattinson and cummins will carry australia into the next 10-15 years of dominance. so i would get him in the team now

  • Alex on December 4, 2011, 13:25 GMT

    With Watson's previous injury scares I think Christian is in to carry drinks as 12th man so that McDermott can have a close-up look at Christian in the nets and get him some time to settle in with the rest of the test squad in case he is required during the India tests. Christian is the in form all-rounder in the domestic game at the moment and rightfully deserves a look, we have enough guys who have played because they have potential but if we need someone to come into the squad last minute then Dan has well and truly done enough to prove his worth. I would however like to put forward the idea of Faulkner as an alternate all-rounde,r seeing as he is a left armer, has batted supremely well this season and would be playing on his home turf, everything you could hope for in a replacement

  • Dummy4 on December 4, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    Christian isn't one of the best seven batsmen nor best four bowlers. So he won't play in Hobart, when others return from injury he won't play against India. Just a bit of insurance and exposure that's all. If they want an allrounder (which they don't), I'd prefer MacDonald. As for Mitchell Marsh, keep dreaming.

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