South Africa in Australia 2012-13 November 17, 2012

Quiney sees his window narrowing


A week after he made what the coach Mickey Arthur joked was the best 9 he had ever seen, Rob Quiney knows that another low score in the Adelaide Test will be no laughing matter. Quiney kept his place in Australia's squad for the second Test against South Africa, which begins on Thursday, and his chances of playing appear strong, with Shane Watson facing a difficult challenge to prove his fitness in time.

On debut at the Gabba, Quiney got off the mark in Test cricket by pulling Dale Steyn through midwicket from his first ball and he appeared confident throughout his short stay. After the game, Arthur said light-heartedly that Quiney's innings was the best 9 he had ever seen, and he added that Quiney had offered much in the dressing room and did not look out of depth at Test level.

Should he play in Adelaide, Quiney knows that he must show the kind of skill that brought him to Test level if he is to stay ahead of others such as Usman Khawaja in the national queue. The list of Australia's Test cricketers abounds with men who were only given one chance in the baggy green - including his Victoria team-mates Chris Rogers, Clint McKay and Bryce McGain - and Quiney is well aware that two lean matches could spell the end of his Test dreams.

"I'd rather make a scratchy fifty than a good nine," Quiney told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday. "I see this little window as being little. If I can get a score on the board and show that I can get runs at that level, it's going to help me out in the future. If I don't, the depth of the batting is getting better and better and people are scoring runs at Shield level and one-day level and they're doing a job. It's good healthy competition in the Australian setup."

Not that Quiney failed to contribute to Australia's strong showing at the Gabba. He took three catches, including two very sharp takes at gully, and bowled 11 overs of medium pace that conceded only 13 runs. Remarkably, he has the best economy rate of any player who has bowled at least ten overs for Australia in Test cricket, but Quiney knows that only runs off his own bat will determine whether he remains a Test cricketer.

"With the bat I was a little bit disappointed," he said. "My job is to make runs and I didn't make runs ... it can turn around pretty quickly. I've only had one innings in Test match cricket. If I get another couple of innings, hopefully I can turn that around and score some runs for the side and help out to contribute to a win."

For the time being, all Quiney can do is wait and see whether he will be given another opportunity in Adelaide, or if he is squeezed out to accommodate the return of Watson, Australia's vice-captain. Watson, who missed the first Test due to a calf injury, was named in a 13-man squad on Friday but he will only be considered if he is able contribute with the ball.

"It's a good limbo," Quiney said. "I'd rather be in this limbo than not being in the mix at all. If Shane gets fit, it's going to be beneficial for the team ... but if he doesn't get up and he's still unfit, I feel like the last Test was a bit of a dream and I've got a job to do now. If I do get the chance I've just got to knuckle down and get some runs."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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  • Dummy4 on November 19, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    Quiney looked the part on test debut, he wore whites and even held the bat by the narrow end. And definitely would have scored more runs if he hadn't got out, so that went against him. Definitely, with people like Ponting in the team he should get enough guidance on how to play long innings like the one Ponting played in the Brisbane test. And not to forget his wonderful record in unarguably the best domestic cricket system in the world, which has world class groundsmen oops spinners like Nathan Lyon and terrifyingly innocuous fast bowlers like Hilfenhaus. He has a bright future ahead of him, no doubt. Best of luck!

  • Andrew on November 18, 2012, 23:23 GMT

    @Ian Wood - good point & what happenned to The Don after the first Test?- he was 12th man! @ ross_fleming on (November 18 2012, 12:33 PM GMT) - re: running between wickets. Bear in mind Bailey has NOT made his test debut though! So maybe it is something he has been told to work on????? @Macca_mat on (November 18 2012, 10:29 AM GMT) - all that analysis I did was confirm what most people had suspected - that Khawaja's runs have been "worth" more than sheer stats would suggest. I will be hoping he cashes in on good batting strips to really put an exclamation mark on his season! @Sam Matthews - agreed. I don't think he made the most of his chances & needed to use his dropping as a form of motivation. I think initially he failed in that respect (i.e last year sulked). Since Inverarity's statement, (maybe before hand but more obviously post), Ussie has taken it on the chin & worked thru the areas that he has needed to.

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2012, 18:26 GMT

    Khawaja is the best batsman in Australia. He is being a denied a test place because he lacked that Team spirit and affinity. Over the years Australia have been successful because of dressing room environment and Khawaja needed to fit in. I am certain he is trying his best, however, it is not easy for 1st generation immigrant. He should take tips from Imran Tahir. He certainly deserves a place in Australian Test team.

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2012, 16:52 GMT

    @Edwards_A. Yeah you won't get arguments from me mate. I am not Khawaja-bashing. I am coming into this fully informed and I know he is the most deserving of being top of the queue for next spot in the side. I have just been trying to explain to the people with Khawaja-fervour that he was not treated unfairly at all. He got 6 tests and consistently failed (at crucial moments I might add) which resulted in his axing (just like Hayden, Clarke, any-number of greats). He has ticked all the boxes and is back in contention, but he WAS NOT treated unfairly.

    If you want unfair look no further than Brad Hodge. Or even MORE unfair: David Hussey - first class career average of 55, like 41 centuries, but NEVER came into contention. These days if you average over 30 you are in contention. He is the best player in the history of cricket never to play a test match.

  • Ross on November 18, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    @Meety what you are saying amkes sense, I think if you watch him in the Ryobi games you will see that Khawaja is also looking for an extra run when at the non-strikers end and think about what i said earlier about Bailey. Bailey has been involved in run outs 36 times whereas Khawaja hasn't been involved even a third of that yet he gets picked on, where is the fairness there.

  • Lewis on November 18, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    @Ssriaj317 agree with you bud.

  • Mariam on November 18, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    @Hyclass we are in agreement for once. Well said, I also think Khawaja is doing great and should be back soon. Also wish Quiney well for the second test and hope he contributes towards a big win for Aus.

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    Every top batsman Aust has producedhave been dropped early in their career. Recently Ponting, Clarke, Hayden & langer included were all dropped. While no where near the same league but what was Bradmans 1st test scores?

  • Rahul on November 18, 2012, 10:58 GMT

    @Ross_fleming very good comments on Bailey getting run out 36 times vs Khawaja who has hardly got run out. Watching Khawaja in the games on tv and through streams, it is showing that he is working hard on the feedback given to him and that's all can be asked.

  • Allan on November 18, 2012, 10:54 GMT

    @MattyLeeC i think all the guy including myself who are favorably commenting on Khawaja agree that Quiney deserves his chance, no one is questioning his skill and the fact he deserves a chance. Like you said the only point is that there are others like Khawaja, Doolan and Hughes pushing for spots which is fantastic for Aus batting and which should excite all Aus fans.

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