St John's: Australia could throw uncapped left-arm wrist spin bowler Beau Casson into the deep end if the conditions are right in the third and final Test against West Indies, starting on June 12 at Kensington Oval in Barbados.
Ricky Ponting has indicated that the search for the next great Australian spin bowler could begin in earnest at Bridgetown, after Shane Warne ruled out a resumption of his legendary career and Stuart MacGill ended his career of unfulfilled promise on Tuesday.
"The time is going to come somewhere and so next week could be as good a time as any," Australia captain Ponting told reporters here.
"Our next Test series after the West Indies is in India, and you don't want debutant spin bowlers playing over there. But we'll get down to Barbados and assess the conditions."
After battling injuries, poor form and switching states in the past few years, Casson sprung to national prominence when he became New South Wales' first-choice spinner for much of the last Australia domestic first-class season, when Stuart MacGill spent time in the Australia team and then recovering from surgery.
The 25-year-old Casson collected 29 wickets at 35.13 and showed his all-round value with 485 runs at an average of 60.62 in the lower order.
His rise is all the more remarkable considering that he was behind MacGill, retired fellow left-arm wrist spinner Brad Hogg, Dan Cullen, and Cullen Bailey in the national slow-bowling pecking order.
But Hogg's retirement, and the failure of Bailey and Cullen to impress at state level brought Casson to the fore as the preferred choice as a long-term option.
"There is a young guy on tour that we have to whom we have to give some credit," Ponting said.
"For my sake, I hope he debuts next week because I think it will be a great experience and a great opportunity for him."
Australia lead the three-Test series 1-0, after they completed a 95-run victory in the opening Test at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.