Proteas in Australia
Quiney on standby for Aussies
Brisbane - Batsman Rob Quiney was named on Sunday as the standby player for injured opening batsman Shane Watson in the Australian squad for the first Test against South Africa in Brisbane.
Watson is struggling to overcome a strained calf muscle and chairperson of selectors John Inverarity said a decision on the team vice-captain's availability would be made well ahead of Friday's Test.
"A decision on Shane is likely to be made earlier rather than later," Inverarity said in a statement.
"Selectors have named Rob Quiney to be on standby after he impressed the panel with his performances in all formats in recent years.
"He was particularly impressive in the Australia A game that finished in Sydney on Sunday."
The Victorian left-hander scored 85 off 113 balls for Australia A against a Test-strength South African bowling attack led by the two top-ranked Test pacemen Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander in the three-day tour game.
"Rob is a mature player with an equable temperament who has been on the verge of higher honours for some time and his achievements for Victoria were recognised last year when he was named State Player of the Year," Inverarity said.
Quiney, 30, who has played 53 first-class games, said: "It's a massive opportunity to join the squad heading into such an important series.
"Hopefully, Shane can get up and be right because he's such an important player for the team but I'll obviously be training and preparing to be ready to go if he doesn't get up."
All-rounder Watson failed to feature in the second innings of New South Wales' Shield weekend loss to Queensland and was struggling to prove his fitness for the Gabba Test.
"We've got a great physio in Alex Kountouris so he (Watson) can't be in any better hands," Test skipper Michael Clarke told reporters on Sunday.
"It's just about now trying to hope we've got enough days in between today and the first Test."
Former Test captain Ricky Ponting appeared likely to play in the Test match despite pulling out of Tasmania's Sheffield Shield weekend game against South Australia with a tight hamstring.
But Clarke said before the Quiney call-up that he was confident whoever took the field against the Proteas could do the job, and was adamant there would be no excuses made.
"You look at our performances last summer, he (Watson) didn't play one Test match and we beat India 4-0," Clarke said.
"We'll find a way. We did last summer and if Watto's not available somebody will come in and grab that opportunity. I'd love him to be fit but if he's not we'll find a way."