Rob Quiney is not making up the numbers for Australia in Adelaide and has been told he has a genuine opportunity to establish himself in the Test top order.
Quiney was retained for the second Test at No.3 against South Africa after vice-captain Shane Watson failed to recover in time from his calf strain.
Skipper Michael Clarke made it clear he isn’t viewing the Victorian as a seat-filler and said Quiney can extend his stay in the baggy green with a big innings against the best attack in Test cricket.
“To me, there’s no such thing as a fill-in when you get the chance to play for Australia. He’s earned that right – that’s for sure,” Clarke said.
“If he can grab hold of this opportunity, then we worry about that come the third Test.”
Quiney made just nine runs in his only dig on debut in Brisbane, but showed promising signs, particularly with his temperament.
Clarke said Quiney was in the form and frame of mind to score a ton in just his second Test.
“He’s full of confidence. If you’ve watched him bat in the nets the last three days, he’s hitting the ball as good as anybody,” he said.
“Before Brisbane, I said I’d be surprised if he didn’t make a 100 and that’s because I know how well Rob can play.
“He’s a very composed guy. The big occasions certainly won’t get to him so I’m as confident as I was in the first Test that he’ll walk out tomorrow or when he gets an opportunity and he’ll make a big score.”
Quiney’s former Victorian teammate Brad Hodge said the 30-year-old shouldn’t be limiting himself to aiming for Watson’s spot.
The six-time Test batsman said Quiney could potentially pressure everyone in the Australian top six, with the exception of Clarke.
“The hard thing as a cricketer is having that thought in the back of your mind that Shane Watson is going to come in and take your spot,” said Hodge.
“If I was Bobby, I’d be thinking ‘I’m going to take any of the top six players at the moment’.
“He’ll take it on and be aggressive – that’s the way he plays.
“The more Tests he plays, the more Australia will win because the game will get moving.”