McKay eyes Pura Cup debut against South Australia October 23, 2006

Injury crisis forces Victoria to pick uncapped bowler

Cricinfo staff

Shane Harwood will miss the match with a side strain © Getty Images

Four months after losing his state contract Clinton McKay, a right-arm fast bowler, is a strong chance to make his first-class debut for Victoria in the Pura Cup clash against South Australia in Adelaide starting on Friday. McKay has replaced Shane Harwood, who hurt his side during the match against Western Australia last week, in the Bushrangers' 12-man squad.

McKay was flown to Perth on standby in the season-opening draw with Western Australia but was not required. However, with the fast bowlers Harwood, Allan Wise, Dirk Nannes, Rob Cassell and Peter Siddle injured, McKay's opportunity might have arrived. A club player with Essendon, McKay has four wickets in two matches this season, including a three-wicket haul at the weekend. If he plays against the Redbacks he will boost the lower-order batting as he has two centuries in his grade career.

McKay was disappointed with his season last summer, but he has already benefited from an increased fitness regime during the off-season. "I dropped eight or nine kilograms training three nights a week with the Coburg VFL team," he said. "Andy Collins [the Coburg coach and Cricket Victoria's career and welfare manager] got Andrew McDonald and I down. It's the best thing I've ever done."

Greg Shipperd, the Victoria coach, said with the injuries to so many front-liners the young fast bowlers had a great chance to play for their state. Shipperd said his players were heartened by their fightback after they were dismissed for 297 in the first innings in reply to Western Australia's 3 for 608 declared.

Pura Cup squad Lloyd Mash, Nick Jewell, David Hussey, Brad Hodge, Jon Moss, Cameron White (capt), Andrew McDonald, Adam Crosthwaite (wk), Shane Warne, Clinton McKay, Gerard Denton, Mick Lewis.