Australia all-rounder Shane Watson unable to bowl in the first Test
Last Updated: 12/11/12 8:08am
Shane Watson: Injury concern for Australia ahead of first Test against South Africa
Australia all-rounder Shane Watson will be unable to bowl in the first Test against South Africa after suffering a minor calf strain.
Watson limped from the field on Saturday during New South Wales' Sheffield Shield match against Queensland and scans have confirmed the problem.
Victoria batsman Rob Quiney has been called up as cover for Watson although Australia skipper Michael Clarke is prepared to play Watson as a specialist batsman if he is fit enough for the Brisbane Test which gets underway on Friday.
"He's shown in all three forms he's a very good batter, he's a top player for us," Clarke said "Fingers crossed, I'd love to see him fully fit and batting and bowling. That would be a bonus.
"But you look at our performance last summer. He didn't play one Test match and we beat India 4-0.
"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.
"It's just about now trying to hope we've got enough days in between today and the first Test.
"Fingers crossed. He's an important player for us and I'd imagine he'd be given every chance."
Watson said: "It's not as bad as it's been, it's only pretty minor but I know how things can go if you don't really look after it and get it right the first time. I'll be certainly making sure I get it right the first time."
Former captain Ricky Ponting is expected to be fit to play at the Gabba despite missing a match for his Tasmania state because of a hamstring strain.
Left-hander Quiney scored 85 off 113 balls for Australia A against South Africa in their three-day tour game in Sydney.
"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," said chairman of selectors John Inverarity.
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."