George Bailey says he would “love” giving play spinner Mitch Swepson an Ashes debut while adding Scott Boland, which has given Australia’s selection panel a “headache” ahead of the fourth Test in Sydney.
Fresh from keeping the ashes, Australia’s president credited the voters’ core team and senior players for creating a positive environment so everyone can play to their abilities.
A week after Jhye Richardson took a five-wicket move to go two-zero up in Adelaide, debutant Scott Boland got an incredible 6-7 to secure Australia’s Ashes triumph.
The duo’s success has given Australia’s picks plenty to weigh up before the fourth Test, which starts on 5 January.
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Bailey welcomed the selection headache, with Josh Hazlewood expected to be declared fit to play after missing the last two Tests with a rib injury.
“It’s a big headache,” Bailey told reporters via zoom Thursday morning. “We do not mind headaches at this time of year.
“I would much rather have that headache and some difficult decisions to make than scratch my head to find a solution to a problem, so I look forward to working through it and having some tough conversations at some point, but I will love nothing more than having a full team to choose from. “
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Hazlewood hit the net Thursday before noon in an attempt to prove his fitness.
The 30-year-old has not played since hurting his ribs during the Gabba test and bowling from a shorter run than usual.
Bailey said the experienced new-ball bowler would be left to make his own decision about his availability.
“I have pretty good faith that ‘Hoff’ knows his own body and trusts his own body so he will build up the way he wanted before any kind of test,” Bailey said. I think he should have another bowl today … but I have pretty good faith that if Hoff has the confidence and he says he has the right to go, I think we’ll back him up, he deserves that trust. “
Should Hazlewood play, Boland would have to rely on left-arm fast Mitchell Starc getting a respite as Pat Cummins is captain and missed the second Test.
But Bailey seemed to crush any idea of resting players, especially on the back of their lighter-than-usual bowling work in Melbourne, where Australia finished the test in less than two and a half days after Boland’s heroism. With that in mind, Australian voters will most likely return to the Starc-Hazlewood-Cummins-Lyon attack that started the series in Brisbane.
“No one ever rests, especially the fast bowlers, who are no such thing as a rest because if they don’t play, they work on their backs to get their physical conditioning right,” Bailey said. “We need to stop using that word.
“But we also have to understand that there are different stages, not just this series, but at different stages, there is a hell of a lot of cricket, and that’s a challenge.
“Talk about good headaches, the fact that we have Pat, Josh and Mitch as three leading world-class fast bowlers across all three formats is a big problem. I could not speak louder about ‘Starcy’ this series as Hoff was not there, Patty missed the second test, I would repeat Pat’s words from the second day, I think he has gone up and led the attack and the bowling as well as I have ever seen him.
“Our fast, especially not having as much of a workload as they had in Adelaide and a few extra days off, will work to their advantage.”
The rising shares of Australia’s fast bowlers, as well as Nathan Lyon’s return to form since taking his 400th wicket, and their success against England have meant it’s harder for spinner Swepson to make his debut.
But with three trips to the subcontinent on the horizon, including a rare trip to Pakistan early next year, there is likely another specialist in spinners.
Although SCG is no longer the furious dust bowl it once used to be, where Stuart MacGill often worked with Shane Warne, it’s still a venue still considering playing two spinners.
Warne, who took 708 test wickets and won the World Cup in 1999, said he would consider playing two spinners, describing Swepson as a “good spinner” who is “aggressive.”
“I’m sure Australia would look at two spinners and Mitchell Swepson would be one of them,” Warne told foxsports.com.au.
Bailey said the conditions would largely dictate whether they play two spinners, with Cameron Green’s all-round ability paving the way for Australia to consider playing just two specialist quickers.
“If the conditions fit, we would like to give ‘Swepo’ a crack,” Bailey said.
“We have no doubt that Swepo is ready, whether it is the SCG or a time in the future.
“We’ve loved having him around the group, we love everything he comes up with, his cricket is getting better and better, he’s a great young manager, so would not love anything more for him to have an opportunity, but it will probably be dependent on the circumstances. ”
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Meanwhile, Bailey credited Marcus Harris for his performance at Boxing Day, where the under-siege left-handed top scored by 76 and was the only Australian to score half a century.
“I think Harry has looked really good throughout the series,” Bailey said.
Can’t give him enough credit for that bank last week because of the challenge of wicket and being an opening dough. Everyone talked about it as being a wicket with new ball, and for him to meet the balls he made and keep the Australia inning together is exactly what you are looking for from an opening dough; attack when he needed to attack. I thought it was a great example of how Harry can play and contribute to this team. “
Australia is to travel to Sydney with England on New Year’s Eve on a charter flight.
Bailey did not bother to speculate on whether other arrangements would be made in light of a seventh positive Covid case in the English camp, which will see head coach Chris Silverwood miss the fourth Test after being judged as a close contact .