Scott Boland Sydney Test selection debate, Joe Root under pressure, Sam Billings into the equation

Australia’s cricket fraternity is divided over the immediate future of Boxing Day Test hero Scott Boland, a BBL star says he is willing to answer England’s calls and there are new calls for Joe Root to resign.

Boland’s barely conceivable 6-7 on the third and final morning of the Boxing Day Test to blow up England by 68 and secure the ashes.

While The Roars columnist Damien Fleming suggested that Boland did enough to retain his place for the Sydney Test, others believe he should step aside to let Josh Hazlewood and or Jhye Richardson return.

Mitchell Starc is believed to be queuing up to be rotated out of the squad – a decision he would no doubt resist as he enjoys what his skipper Pat Cummins described as a ‘series player’ level performance through the first three tests.

Scott Boland

Scott Boland claims the opening Johnny Mullagh medal. (Photo by Darrian Traynor – CA / Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Former captain Ricky Ponting told cricket.com.au that Boland may have played the only Test of his career.

“It’s dizzying to think about. He’s almost 33, he’s just taken 6-7. Hoff (Hazlewood) needs to come back, Jhye is probably ahead of him in the pick order, too,” Ponting said.

“If Hoff is not available, I think you should return to Jhye. In the order of things, he was selected before Boland to Adelaide – I think it’s fair to do so.”

Former Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin also felt Boland would miss Sydney.

“I think you still have to pick your best bowlers and if the three (Hazlewood, Cummins and Starc) are in good shape then they will be selected,” Haddin said on Fox Cricket.

“We saw in the second test that Richardson was excellent, Neser was excellent,

“Richardson came in and got 5 ferries, Boland got 6 ferries on this wicket, but if the three are available, you still choose your best team.

“What it shows is that it has created a certain depth, and it’s an honor for the staff and the voters.”

But ex-all-rounder Andrew Symonds believes Boland should survive.

“They have a really interesting situation because they’ve got Hazlewood coming back, he wants to be in shape again for the next test,” Symonds said.

“So you can not really drop a guy who has 6-7, you would not have thought.”

‘Do not strike one leg’

The British media continued to overcome the bones of England’s catastrophic 12-day Ashes collapse with Joe Root and Chris Silverwood under increasing pressure.

Former England batsman Geoff Boycott said Root should step down.

“Now Australia is ahead 3-0 and the ashes are gone. Will Root please stop saying Australia is not much better than us? I do not mind him living in Cuckoo Land, but do not try to fool us, ”Boycott wrote in his column in The Telegraph.

“If he really believes what he says, then maybe it’s time for him to give up the captaincy of the English cricket team.

“The facts are staring us all in the face, except Joe does not want to see it – England can not bat. Our bowling is ordinary.

“No one would want to give up the lead, but it’s not about Joe – it’s about getting guys to perform better.”

Former England batsman Mark Ramprakash hopes Root remains captain, but believes he needs more support.

“Joe is a great role model, but the players around him have not been up to the goal and that’s why … you have to feel sympathy for him,” he told Sky Sports News.

“I do not think he’s necessarily tactically the best captain we’ve ever had and so he’s going to have to take his share of the responsibility … but just as much I think Joe needs the support of people over him.

“We need to have a good look at how we help Joe Root if he continues as captain … but if he has the drive and the desire to continue, then I would stick with him.”

Former England captain Michael Atherton thought Silverwood would pay dearly for the league loss, saying the blame lay directly on his shoulders.

Following a restructuring of men’s chief executive Ashley Giles in April, Silverwood took on a role as chief voter, but England have struggled this year, winning just one of their last 12 Tests with a record nine defeats in 2021 including their MCG -nadir.

“I do not see a situation where Silverwood will survive this tour. All the responsibility lies with him,” Atherton told Sky Sports.

“The way Giles has set things up, there is only one man to blame, even if there are deeper problems than the guilt game.”

Unlike most experts, Atheron tried to give Poms a way out of despair, starting with a reworking of the county’s cricket season.

Atherton feels that the county championship should be “a shorter, more condensed competition of higher quality”, highlighting the schedule and the proliferation of talent as the biggest problems to be solved.

“If your system is strong and competitive, all the talk about coaching is a bit peripheral because what you want is a natural Darwinian process where the best players get to the top of the pile.

“The best players will take wickets and the best players will score runs if the system is strong and competitive.

“I just do not think it is strong and competitive enough right now for many reasons. 18 teams, talent spread quite thinly, number of matches played at difficult times of the season.

“A shorter, more condensed competition of higher quality would ultimately allow the best players to get through, and the best players would then have to be able to take the step up to test cricket more easily.

“I’m not even sure that coaching is the fundamental issue here. I think there are some strange theories knocking around, we saw some of them in the build-up to this match where the English openers struck on one leg in a very visible net area.

“If you have to strike on one leg, then doing it in the indoor school away from prying eyes would be my advice, but probably the best advice would be not to strike on one leg.

“So I think there are some weird theories around, but in the end, a good, strong competitive structure will get around all of that.”

Billing ready to answer the call

Sam Billings should have been part of the English batting line-up, according to The Roars coach columnist Trent Woodhill, and he got into the wider conversation after blasting 67 of 35 balls in the BBL on Tuesday night.

Billings thrashed 10 fours and two sixes at the Manuka Oval to help the Thunder win a upset 34 run against the Scorchers.

Billings is averaging 33.72 from 25 one-day internationals for England, but has never broken the Test series.

However, the 30-year-old has thrived on Aussie tires in the BBL this season – something his countrymen have struggled to make this Ashes series.

Billings says he has not given up playing test cricket and would love to come to England’s rescue in this Ashes series as they seek to avoid a money laundering.

“It’s been fun. I’ve not played much (international) cricket,” Billings said.

“I’ve been in a lot of bubbles, I’ve been in a lot of English teams and not played enough.

“For me at the moment, I just enjoy playing. I’m 30 now and I’m just about to play cricket.

“But if that call comes, yes, the test cricket is still top notch.”

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