THE all-rounder’s curse continued on Tuesday but in Dan Christian’s case the Test aspirant’s bizarre downfall has nothing to do with injury.
It was a case of three strikes and you’re out for Christian, who has been slapped with a one-match ban by South Australian cricket officials for multiple property damage offences after being dismissed.
Christian, 29, who will miss the Redbacks’ clash with Victoria this week for his ”repeated ill-disciplined behaviour”, is the latest all-rounder to have his season interrupted at an inopportune time.
His suspension has further enhanced the chances of in-form NSW all-rounder Moises Henriques earning international honours this summer.
Christian’s woes come as Test vice-captain Shane Watson is having his fitness questioned and just a week after Andrew McDonald and Mitchell Marsh broke down with serious hamstring injuries. Marsh, who flew to Melbourne on Tuesday to consult a specialist, has confirmed his summer is over and is likely to have surgery this week after tearing 90 per cent of his hamstring tendons off the bone last Saturday. McDonald is also likely to miss much of the season.
Christian’s misfortune appears to be all his own doing. His first in what SACA director of cricket Jamie Cox described as a ”series of indiscretions” occurred in Adelaide last month and resulted in a verbal warning from team management.
Christian received another warning, this time written, this month and was fined his match fee after damaging change rooms at Bellerive against Tasmania.
Although Christian apologised both times and paid for the cost of repairs, Redbacks officials lost patience with the player following another breach in Perth last week against Western Australia.
WACA officials reported no property damage in SA’s dressing rooms but the Redbacks, who are aiming to improve their team culture, felt compelled to punish Christian for his ”general disrespect for team values”.
”Whilst in isolation none of these incidents are hanging offences, the cumulative effect has seen this action as necessary,” Cox said.
Christian was on the fringe of Australia’s Test team last summer but has fallen off the pace this Shield season, during which he has scored 173 runs at 21 and taken nine wickets at 41.
The mishaps to Watson, Christian, McDonald and Marsh could give the highly-rated Henriques, 25, a rails run to the national team.
Henriques has this season avoided injuries which have prevented him from realising his considerable potential in past years, and has made a strong case for consideration by chairman of selectors, John Inverarity. Henriques has taken nine wickets at 16 and scored 309 runs at 154.5 at Shield level.
Although he missed out with the bat last week, his brisk medium-fast bowling deeply impressed the Victorians, who rated his bowling alongside Test paceman in waiting Josh Hazlewood.
Henriques, whose aim this summer is to be fit for every game, has earmarked selection for the tour of India early next year as a medium-term goal.
”It’s something that’s in the back of the head but I try and focus on the short-term goals and performing for the next match,” Henriques said.
Although Brad Haddin said he regarded Henriques as a batting all-rounder, the man himself is not sure which is his stronger discipline.
”I want to keep it as 50-50 as I can. I love doing both of them and I really struggle to play cricket without the other,” Henriques said.