Scott Boland has offered an elegant response to the possibility that he could become Australia’s most unlucky cricketer since Jason Gillespie, saying he will not stand in the way of Josh Hazlewood.
Selectors are dealing with an embarrassment of riches for the SCG test after Boland’s six wickets in the Boxing Day test crushed England and helped Australia keep the ashes.
Watch Boland discuss the situation in the video above
But one of the more memorable test debuts has also created a problem for voters, with Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon as the only securities in the bowling attack.
Hazlewood confirms being available in Sydney after bowling in the MCG nets on Tuesday and set for another training session on Thursday.
Mitchell Starc would likely be rested at SCG, but he could still play after the Boxing Day Test was over before lunch on day three.
There is also a serious chance that Mitchell Swepson could debut as another spinner, after Pat Cummins suggested it could help him ahead of the subcontinent tours next year.
Cameron Green’s development has also helped that case, as his seven wickets at 11 mean he could be a true third-grader at SCG if Australia play two tweakers.
There could also be a push for Jhye Richardson to play if Australia go after three seamers and Starc or Hazlewood sit out, given his five-wicket move in Adelaide before resting for Melbourne.
That leaves Boland in a serious battle to retain its place.
The Victorian was selected as the MCG specialist for the third Test, and working in his favor is the idea that the Sydney wicket in general is very similar.
Boland, however, knows its place in the pyramid.
“I understand how selection works. I’m 32, so I’ve been around the block in terms of what’s going on with those things,” he said. Sunrise.
“When you have a guy like Josh Hazlewood on his way in again, I do not think I’ll get in his way. He’s just coming in again.”
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If dropped, it would place Boland in the same category as original star Jason Gillespie, who scored 201no as a night watchman in 2005 in what turned out to be his last test.
Boland could theoretically suffer a similar fate if left out for Sydney.
The Victorian said the reward for a test debut was made all the sweeter by his match-winning move.
“I definitely thought my days playing for Australia might be over in a few years,” Boland said.
“But I’ve worked pretty hard over the last couple of years to get myself and my body in a position where I’ve been able to perform some performances to be recognized by the voters for hopefully being in the squad, but to get a match and to play at MCG in front of a home crowd was fantastic. “
Cummins said earlier this week that he was pleased the selection decisions were out of his hands.
“Good luck to them,” he said of sorting the XI for the SCG test.
“I thought it was a really brave call from voters to pick up Scotty (to Melbourne). Full credit to those who made the right call.
Jhye will hopefully be available, Joshy will hopefully be available. We still have Michael Neser in the squad.
“It could be a spinning track and you have Mitchell Swepson to bowl beautifully. It’s a luxury at the moment.”
The performance of Australia’s back-up bowlers is part of their belief that they can fight for the world championship in tests.
Seven of their bowlers averaged under 25 for the series, a situation unthinkable before the summer.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve got new guys in and bowled as well as they have,” David Warner said.
“The guys who have come in from the bench have had an impact right away.”