Australia’s Scott Boland has been given the nod to take on India in this week’s World Test Championship, edging out Michael Neser.
Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of the showpiece at the Kia Oval with a side injury, leaving Boland and Neser fighting for the final spot in Australia’s pace attack.
Boland held the edge having been named in the initial squad, but Neser’s strong form with Glamorgan in the LV= County Championship made him an intriguing option in English conditions.
Captain Pat Cummins did not leave the pair waiting to find out, though, confirming Boland’s selection on Tuesday morning.
The 34-year-old made a stunning introduction to international cricket during the 2021-22 Ashes series, taking six for seven in the Boxing Day Test the MCG to seal the series. He has already taken 28 wickets in seven Tests and averages a remarkable 13.42.
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“Someone like Scotty, it’s just a really simple game-plan – you hit your good areas and you stay there all day and hopefully the ball will do the work for you,” Cummins told Australian reporters.
“He’s had a few bowls over here now and has looked good. But he looks good whenever he bowls. Scott is a seam bowler on a good length, but he just offers something slightly different to Joshy Hazlewood, and Starcy (Mitchell Starc). Being a left-hander is bit different.
“In the past here in England, because the ball does talk a little more, I’ve seen players get too caught up in trying to take wickets every ball because you’ve suddenly got the ball swinging and seaming.”
Australia are expected to revert to their preferred team balance after shifting the make-up of their XI in their most recent series in India.
That means five specialist batters, Cameron Green as all-rounder, Alex Carey behind the stumps, three fast bowlers and first-choice spinner Nathan Lyon.