Casson contemplates future
Beau Casson will contemplate his future in the game as he flies home to Sydney on Wednesday, having been ruled out of the final two days of the Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and South Australia at Adelaide Oval.
Recalled to the NSW Shield team for the match, Casson felt unwell shortly before he was due to take the ball in the first session on day one, and later blacked out in the change rooms. It was an unfortunate recurrence of heart-rate problems that have punctuated Casson's career, and he was subsequently taken to hospital.
Once there, Casson expressed to team-mates his devastation at leaving the Blues a bowler short in the field, and his coach Anthony Stuart said the left-arm wrist spinner now had to undergo another round of testing and examination at home before he could be passed fit to play again.
"His health's paramount, and when we spoke to him yesterday [in hospital] he was devastated," Stuart said. "He was coherent, he was chatty, more disappointed than anything how things had panned out, but there's some history there and we've got to make sure his health comes first and he gets well and we'll go from there.
"He's had some tests today. The doctor's given him clearance to leave the hospital. He's going to stay in one more night. The plan is that he will fly back to Sydney tomorrow, so he's got a clean bill of health to get out of hospital.
"Once he gets back to Sydney there'll be more tests he'll have to do, he's got his cardiologist back in Sydney. then there'll be some things he'll have to got through before he's cleared to play sport again."
The question of Casson's future is a delicate one, for he remains one of the more talented slow bowlers in the country. But the recurrence of heart problems before he had even made it to the bowling crease made the outlook for further cricket cloudy, as Stuart acknowledged.
"He needs to get clearance from a specialist, and they'll put him through some rigorous testing, but they did that last time as well," Stuart said. "It's a tough one to answer, I'm no medical expert, it'd be a shame if he couldn't but his health comes first.
"I think we just take one step at a time, he gets back to Sydney, sees his girlfriend, talks to his family and sees his specialist and we'll go from there. We do everything we can to make sure everything goes alright for him."
The Blues were dominated by the Redbacks on day two, but Stuart rebuffed suggestions the episode might have affected his team's focus.
"Obviously we'd have loved an extra bowler, so maybe on their scoreboard it might've affected us a bit, but [Simon Katich] bowled well for us," Stuart said. "From a batting perspective no, we don't offer any excuses with the bat, Beau's not out there playing for the boys in that regard.
"The boys' head-space is fine, if there was any issue then there shouldn't be, they're professional enough to know they've got to get on with their own job out there."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo