Australia hope Watson recovers
Australia coach Mickey Arthur is hoping star all-rounder Shane Watson will be fit for the second Test against South Africa.
- Related Content
Watson has been ruled out of the series opener in Brisbane, which starts on Friday, with a calf injury, with Victoria batsman Rob Quiney called up as his replacement.
Quiney, 30, has been on the national team radar for two years courtesy of his strong domestic form and will now get the chance to prove himself against the best Test team in the world.
Watson, however, could be back in the side before the month is out, with the second Test against the Proteas earmarked as his return date.
"We're hoping he'll play unrestricted in the second Test match at the Adelaide Oval," Arthur said.
"We're ruling him out now because he won't be fit enough come Friday.
"We didn't want this to outplay the whole week, we wanted to make a decision pretty early so we could give some real clarity to the team. I think we've done that."
Arthur conceded that losing Watson, arguably Australia's most valuable player, is a massive blow - especially against the number one Test nation in the world.
"In an ideal world you want Shane Watson batting at three and bowling for you, that's the reality of it," he said.
"Fact is, we're not going to have him. Fact is, we won 4-0 against India last year without Shane."
Watson's injury, sustained while bowling for New South Wales against Queensland in the Sheffield Shield on Saturday, capped a horror weekend for the Australian selectors.
While the majority of the batsmen struggled in Shield cricket, young paceman Pat Cummins (back) was ruled out for the season and ex-skipper Ricky Ponting (hamstring) had an injury concern of his own.
Ponting, however, is almost certain to face South Africa in Brisbane.
"Our casualty list up until 48 hours ago was really good," Arthur said.
"We've planned meticulously with all our players - they've all got their individual plans, everything was looking rosy.
"It's just unfortunate that two came at a bad time."
While Watson's hopes of an injury-free season were dashed, opportunity is now knocking for Quiney, who had an early taste of South Africa's fast bowling battery playing for Australia A over the weekend.
"Yesterday was a bit of a dizzy day," Quiney said.
"Once I found out, for some reason I was rushing to pack and got to the airport probably an hour and 50 minutes before I needed to.
"It's easy to say (I'll approach it) the same as for a Shield match, but in all honesty, it's completely different. The build-up to a Shield match isn't like this, is it?"