New Zealand in Australia 2011-12 December 4, 2011

Christian included for Hobart


Daniel Christian, the South Australia allrounder, has formally replaced Ben Cutting in the only change to the Australia squad for the second Test against New Zealand in Hobart, as the national selectors chose not to touch the injured quintet left out of the team for Brisbane.

As the second of back-to-back Tests, the Hobart match may require a fifth bowling option for Australia, something Christian would provide in addition to the aggressive batting that has placed him at the top of Sheffield Shield aggregates so far this summer with 459 runs.

The inclusion of the 28-year-old Christian will add to the intrigue surrounding the place of the opening batsman Phillip Hughes, twice out cheaply to Chris Martin at the Gabba. In order to fit Christian into the XI as a batsman who can bowl, it would be necessary to drop one of the top six. With Usman Khawaja a capable opening bat and David Warner in arguably better form, Hughes appears the man most likely to lose out in any reshuffle.

Michael Hussey, whose occasional medium pace served as Australia's fifth option in Brisbane, said there were arguments for and against Christian's inclusion. However Hussey also said he did not like the thought of bowling any more than a few nuisance overs himself.

"I look at it a couple of different ways. It is nice to have the extra option for sure, for the captain particularly if guys have had two or three spells each," Hussey said. "The other side of the coin is they're young bowlers so they seem to back up pretty well, they freshen up pretty well.

"But then you can also look on the other side to having that extra option because they're inexperienced and maybe their bodies aren't used to bowling in back-to-back Tests and maybe it would be good to have that extra option. I don't know what they're going to do, but at least they've got the options to mix and match it as they please.

"I don't know if I'm ever going to do a lot of damage, but I'm more than happy to play a back-up role or give the quicks a bit of a rest or just try to chip in and break a partnership here or there. I don't know if my body would cope with bowling 15 or 20 overs in a day. But I'm enjoying it I must admit, it is nice to get the ball and you know the batsmen are trembling a bit because you don't want to get out to someone like me."

John Inverarity, the national selector, said Christian's inclusion at the expense of the injured Cutting enhanced the balance of the squad. Christian started his first-class career in New South Wales, but was signed for South Australia by Rod Marsh, who is now a national selector.

"It is disappointing for Ben that he will be sidelined for some weeks with a side strain, but this provides an opportunity for Daniel who has been performing well as an all-rounder for South Australia," Inverarity said. "The balance of a team is always enhanced by the presence of an energetic all-rounder who is in good form.

"Michael Clarke and his team are buoyant after their convincing victory in Brisbane. James Pattinson's performance on debut will provide a great boost not only the team as a whole but to those who are new to the team in particular."

Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh and Pat Cummins remain sidelined, with their recovery time ranging from Johnson's season-ending foot surgery to the expectation that Cummins, Watson and Marsh will be available to play against India in Melbourne on Boxing Day.

"Shane Watson is making good progress from the right hamstring injury he sustained in the second Test against South Africa, in Johannesburg," the Australian physio Alex Kountouris said. "He has not fully recovered to be considered available to play the second Test against New Zealand but is on track to be fit for the Boxing Day Test against India.

"Pat Cummins is still recovering from the left heel injury sustained during the South Africa Test series. Whilst he is improving he is still not bowling and is unavailable for the second Test against New Zealand. He will continue his rehabilitation in an attempt to be fit for the first Test against India.

"Ryan Harris will resume bowling this week after been given time to recover from the pelvic injury sustained in South Africa. He is therefore unavailable for the second Test against New Zealand. His return to playing will be determined by the progress made over the next week, when he returns to training.

"Shaun Marsh has made good progress from the lower back injury sustained in South Africa. He is expected to return to training later this week with a view to being fit for the India Test series later this month.

"Mitchell Johnson had surgery earlier this week for a left foot injury sustained in the second Test against South Africa. The surgery went well and he is due to return to Perth in the coming days. He is expected to be out of cricket for approximately 5 months."

Second Test squad: Michael Clarke (capt), David Warner, Phillip Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Daniel Christian, Brad Haddin (wk), Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on December 7, 2011, 1:57 GMT

    @Meety... "if the Poms selected purely on "FORM" Cook would not of toured during the Ashes"... Well I am an Aussie & do not care what the English do with their team selection... This is an Aust v NZ series - if you have forgotten... But you obviously want a reply... The English thrashed us with out of form batters - wish ours had performed as well as them... Then they wouldn't have won 3-1... It said a lot about our team, its current form then & the selection process...

  • Roo on December 7, 2011, 1:41 GMT

    @Meety... Your SS picked team is the worst I have ever seen... you are daydreaming about most of them & putting Hartley in before Wade is hysterical... lol... or don't you think International duties count for anything?... Perhaps actually going & watching SS games live would enlighten you greatly...

  • Andrew on December 7, 2011, 0:40 GMT

    @davidpk - that's my point exactly, IF your mob had selected on Form, Cook wouldn't of made the Ashes tour, Collingwood would of been dropped & Strauss would be shown the door, & Broad wouldn't of played against the Indians. Several comments by the current Pommy team talk about the culture of the side & the fact that there is loyalty shown to players. Loyalty was sadly lacking in the 90s & look where England was back then. I was actually giving the Poms a rap - so I understand why you mistook my comment!

  • david on December 6, 2011, 21:11 GMT

    meety the last 2 years England have not picked on form. thats the reason they have done so well. Strauss is the only one of the batters that have been under a bit of pressure but as skip was not going to be dropped, and cook might have seemed under pressure from the public, he was never going be dropped either. the number of daddy100s that the team have scored has kept pressure off the rest of the to the bowlers, the coach and skip seem to know what their preferred combination is, and when injuries happen others have come in and, well you know the rest.dpk

  • Rakesh on December 6, 2011, 14:56 GMT

    In this season Christian played 3 matches on Adelaide, 1 on as similar wicket of Bankstown oval of Sydney and he scored runs but he only played 1 match on the tougher wicket of Hobart and of-course he didn't do any wonders there. Hopefully he will be 12th man in the 2nd test match.

    Butterworth seems to be injured otherwise he would be an ideal replacement of watson. I was also surprised that Copeland get a test call in SL because Butterworth is not only very similar to Copeland in bowling but he is also a far better batsman who is more than handy in shield cricket.

  • Shane on December 6, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    @Chris P - so you're saying he is picked as a backup seamer, yet are also saying his form is purely to do with the bat. So where exactly are you picking him to play? Why would you have a bloke with great batting form bat at 8, playing as a seamer. As for the selectors - you're saying in two weeks he has earnt a baggy green coz of a couple of tons, when they didnt even rate him a fortnight ago to play in the Aus A game?

  • Peter on December 6, 2011, 3:44 GMT

    @getaclue. Try using your name for inspiration. Christian has been picked to back up the 3 pace bowlers due to the close back to back tests plus the game preceding the test. He is selected as a backup pace bowler on top of his batting skills. Who else should have been picked? He has played 2 fc games since the Aust A selections and has powered 2 centuries, that means he is in raging form at the moment. These are the reasons he has been picked, currently in form and as a backup bowler, if selected. It's not rocket science logic.

  • Craig on December 6, 2011, 2:49 GMT

    Great call GETACLUE! its seems that 4 is the magic number these days! lyon and cummins both get a cap after just 4 first class games and now christain bats great for the first 4 shield games this year and gets a call up! clutching at straws seems to be the order of the day and i hope a team like india doesnt expose the lack of experience some of our players have!

  • Andrew on December 6, 2011, 0:17 GMT

    @ zenboomerang - if the Poms selected purely on "FORM" Cook would not of toured during the Ashes, as he was way out of "FORM" before the squad was announced. There was also very little to recommend about Broad, other than he was a bowler who can bat a bit, AND Anderson's "FORM" in Oz was crap. They wouldn't of selected Bell, because his FORM against Oz was below par as well. So I repeat that the whole "form" debate IMO is misguided, as it is not a reliable KPI to whether a person will succeed in a Test. Certainly wasn't for Pattinson, Cummins, & Lyon hey????? FORM says that S Smith should of been a superstar, (may yet be), but he has little to show for his Test career.

  • Andrew on December 6, 2011, 0:12 GMT

    @zenboomerang - "...If you follow the Argus report, the Team Performance Manager, the coach, the Selectors & even ex-captain Ponting, the selection of 'in form' players has been a very long time overdue..." Rubbish! You have concluded the Argus report is about form, actually its about PERFORMANCE. Quote from the report its about "... making runs, taking wickets and showing that they are ready to play at the next level....potential cannot be overlooked: there must be room for some intuition in selections" How does anyone truely know yet whether Christian is going thru a form bubble or not? His FORM is not even the standout factor in his selection, rather it's a like for like replacement for Watto, but his bowling "FORM" is statistically crap. FORM cannot be the main factor in selecting a side. The Poms drilled us during the Ashes because they stuck with the same guys, even when one of them (Collingwood) was woefully out of form. The Poms have been singing the praises of LOYALTY!

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