New Zealand have called in a shadow batsman and could be forced to find a stand-in captain in Sydney, where sick skipper Kane Williamson is racing the clock to prove he is ready for third trans-Tasman Test.
Williamson and fellow batsman Henry Nicholls were too unwell to train on Wednesday and Thursday because of a viral infection, further compounding the Black Caps' woes on what has been a testing tour.
Would-be debutant Glenn Phillips departed Auckland on Thursday to join the squad, underlining just how concerned the visitors are.
"We want to be on the safe side and have options ... we're still hopeful Henry and Kane will pull through and we will give them every chance to prove their fitness," NZ coach Gary Stead said.
Spinner Mitchell Santner, who was facing the axe regardless after an ineffectual start to the series, has also fallen ill.
Tom Latham, who filled in for Williamson at the Prime Minister's reception on New Year's Day then performed pre-match press duties, suggested it would take a lot to keep his skipper out of the final XI on Friday.
"He's a great leader," Latham said.
"If there's any chance of him playing, even if it's a small chance, he'll certainly be playing.
"Fingers crossed they'll be right ... hopefully nobody else catches it."
Latham and veteran paceman Tim Southee have both captained in ODI cricket, while Ross Taylor was sensationally ousted as skipper in favour of Brendon McCullum back in 2012.
Southee was slated to lead in Williamson's injury-enforced absence last year but that Test was cancelled because of the Christchurch mosque attacks.
Latham was unsure who would captain his team if Williamson didn't take the field.
"All those conversations are up in the air," he said.
"We have many leaders among the group. I'm sure the decisions will be made later on today or in the morning."
The tourists' latest bother comes after pacemen Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson both suffered mid-Test injuries and were sent home.
Regardless of whether New Zealand bloods their 30th Test captain or not, the disruption has proven far from ideal while complicating selection discussions that were already complex.
Prior to Phillips' departure, Jeet Raval was the only reserve batsman in the touring party.
Raval was dropped last month, having averaged 7.3 in his past nine Test innings.
The Black Caps were initially upbeat Williamson, who has struggled this series but is comfortably their best batsman, would train on match eve.
Williamson has endured a frustrating series on several fronts, with his captaincy critiqued by predecessor McCullum and other pundits.
"We're planning for him to play and if Kane Williamson misses a couple of days of training, I don't think it's going to affect him too much," Australian captain Tim Paine said.