The offspinner Jason Krejza is in doubt for the second Test against New Zealand in Adelaide after suffering an injury to his right ankle at training. Nathan Hauritz, the New South Wales offspinner who played one Test in Mumbai in 2004, will join the squad on Thursday as a cover player.
Krejza limped off the Adelaide Oval with the assistance of the Australia team physio Alex Kountouris following a mishap during a fielding drill. He fell to the ground during catching practice and was in obvious pain and initially attempted to hobble off the field unaided.
"X-rays this afternoon have cleared Jason of any major damage and shown that he has suffered a ligament strain to his right ankle," Kountouris said. "He will be provided as much time as necessary in order to be available for selection although the likelihood of this is still uncertain."
If he is unavailable for the Test, which starts on Friday, it would be a major blow for Krejza, who was unlucky to be overlooked for the Gabba Test having taken 12 wickets on debut in Nagpur. Hauritz, who has taken six wickets in two Sheffield Shield matches this season at an average of 40.66, would be Australia's sixth specialist spinner in Tests in the 2008 calendar year if selected.
"It's very disappointing for Jason that this injury may rule him out of contention for what would be his first Test on Australian soil," the chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said. "As a precaution we have decided that Nathan Hauritz will join the Australian squad. Nathan has experience at the international level in Test and ODI cricket and as a finger spinner we see him as the appropriate shadow player for this match."
The recall of Hauritz, who has not been a permanent first-class player for New South Wales in the past few seasons, is another sign of Australia's depleted spin resources. The legpsinner Cameron White played all four Tests on the recent tour of India but the selectors asked him to return to Victoria to get more bowling under his belt. His fellow Victoria legspinner Bryce McGain was the first choice slow bowler in India but is out for several months following shoulder surgery.
Beau Casson, the left-arm wrist-spinner who made his Test debut in the West Indies this year has had a horror start to the summer with one Sheffield Shield wicket from four games. He has also had several injury concerns, including a dislocated finger picked up in New South Wales' most recent match.
The dire state of Australia's spin-bowling stocks is shown up in the Sheffield Shield statistics. The leading wicket-taker among spinners this season is the Western Australia batsman Marcus North, whose part-time offbreaks have brought him eight victims at 33.62.