Quiney named on standby for Watson
Rob Quiney, the Victoria opening batsman, is likely to become Australia's 429th Test cricketer after he was called up as cover for the injured Shane Watson ahead of the first match against South Africa in Brisbane.
John Inverarity's selection panel chose 30-year-old Quiney as an in-form top order batsman rather than picking one of several allrounders who took part for Australia A against the South Africans at the SCG.
His first innings 85 demonstrated confidence and poise, before an undefeated 11 in the second showing some steel against a revved up Dale Steyn.
"It was good to have a good hit out against them, albeit the wicket in Sydney compared to the one we're going to play on is going to be a bit different and to see Steyn crank it up today," Quiney said. "It's good to have a little taste of it but obviously you're going to step up even more from this game.
"I think I've been fairly consistent in the last 18 to 24 months, so that's something I've been working on. Not such a great start in the Shield stuff for me this year but it's an opportunity, it comes through timing, and if it does eventuate then I'm hoping to enjoy it, soak it up and do as best I can."
Given Watson's calf injury history and the captain Michael Clarke's preference for the allrounder to capable of bowling and batting whenever he plays, Quiney's chances of being handed a baggy green cap on the first morning of the Test appear strong. No replacement player was named for Ricky Ponting, meanwhile, as he is making rapid progress in recovering from a hamstring niggle.
Inverarity indicated that a call on Watson would be made "sooner rather than later", and lauded Quiney for his consistent run-getting in recent summers. Last season he compiled 938 runs at 49.36, to follow up 724 at 42.58 in 2010-11. He had made a quite modest start to 2012-13 with only 68 runs in three matches, but there was plenty of fluency at the SCG.
"Rob Quiney has impressed the NSP with his performances in all formats in recent years. He was particularly impressive in the Australia A game that concluded at the SCG today," Inverarity said. "His 85 from 113 balls against the strong South African attack demonstrated a good range of shots and a sound technique. He is in good shape at the moment and he is ready to grasp his opportunity should he get the nod for Friday.
"Rob is a mature player with an equable temperament who has been on the verge of higher honours for some time, and I note his achievements for Victoria were recognised last year when he was named State Player of the Year at the Allan Border Medal evening."
Quiney's first taste of national duty came when he was chosen in the squad but did not play any matches in a Twenty20 series against New Zealand in 2009. He has flown up from Sydney to Brisbane on Sunday night to join Australia's Test 12.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here