Haddin doubtful for third Test, Ronchi called as cover

June 6th, 2008 - 5:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, June 6 (IANS) Australia’s injury woes continue with wicket-keeper Brad Haddin in serious doubt for the third Test against West Indies after he broke a finger during the first Test at Sabina Park. Western Australia’s Luke Ronchi has been called as cover for Haddin, raising the possibility that Australia could play two debutants in the third and final Test at Barbados starting June 12.

The team think-tank has given strong indication of fielding a debutant spinner in Beau Casson after Stuart McGill’s surprise retirement in the second Test.

Australia have not fielded two newcomers in a Test since 1999, when Adam Gilchrist and Scott Muller debuted against Pakistan at the Gabba.

Haddin broke the ring finger of his right hand in the first Test and carried the injury through the ensuing game in Antigua. X-rays confirmed the break, and Haddin has since received treatment to relieve the pain with limited success.

The tourists have already lost veteran opener Matthew Hayden for the series with ankle tendonosis, and leg spinner MacGill to retirement since arriving in the Caribbean.

Chief selector Andrew Hilditch said Ronchi’s call-up was a precaution against Haddin “missing the third Test and a part of the one-day series”.

Ronchi has recently been playing for Mumbai in the Indian Premier League.

“Luke had a very strong season in all forms of interstate cricket and performed very well on the Australia A team’s tour to Pakistan at the start of the 2007-08 season,” Hilditch said.

Ronchi, who was born in New Zealand, made his first-class debut for Western Australia in the 2002-03 season and has taken almost 170 catches and scored more than 2,700 runs in all competitions, including three first-class centuries.

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