Holland's season in doubt due to shoulder injury
A week ago, Jon Holland was hoping to get a chance to prove himself over the next fortnight after being named one of Australia's best two spinners by the national selector John Inverarity. Now, Holland is simply hoping he won't be told he needs another shoulder reconstruction after hurting himself in Melbourne's grade cricket at the weekend.
Holland injured his left shoulder while throwing a ball in from the outfield and preliminary scans on Sunday indicated he might have suffered a recurrence of a problem that forced him to have a reconstruction in early 2010. He consulted Victoria's team doctor on Monday and was due to see a specialist on Tuesday to find out how long he would be sidelined.
While the best case scenario would be only a few games - Peter Handscomb has been brought into Victoria's squad to replace Holland for this week's Sheffield Shield game against Tasmania - the worst case would be another reconstruction. Holland, 25, also missed most of the 2007-08 season with a shoulder problem and the timing of his latest injury could hardly have been worse, as he hovered on the fringes of the Australia side.
"He's had a preliminary scan, which showed there might be a bit of a problem," Shaun Graf, Cricket Victoria's general manager of cricket operations, told the Age. "He certainly looks as though he may have re-injured the same spot that he had repaired [in 2010]. He threw off balance and he's obviously created a problem. We won't know the full extent [until after further scans] but I'd say at this stage he's in a bit of strife."
Holland impressed the national selectors during the Australia A tour of England this year, when he outbowled the Test incumbent Nathan Lyon. A left-arm orthodox bowler whose subtle changes of pace and flight troubled the batsmen in England, Holland had played both of Victoria's first two Shield matches of the season but had bowled only 10 overs as the fast men skittled their opponents.
While Lyon was expected to hold his position for the Test series against South Africa next month, Inverarity's praise indicated Holland could put pressure on Lyon with strong Shield performances. Western Australia's left-arm spinner Michael Beer, who played a Test during Australia's tour of the West Indies in April, is likely to be the second in line behind Lyon if Holland's injury proves to be serious.
It's not the first time luck has deserted Holland at the wrong time. He was part of Australia's ODI squad for their tour of India in 2009 and was set to make his international debut in the final game, but the match was washed out.
Victoria Sheffield Shield squad Chris Rogers, Rob Quiney, David Hussey, Cameron White (capt), Peter Handscomb, Andrew McDonald, Matthew Wade (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Peter Siddle, John Hastings, James Pattinson, Clint McKay.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here