Vic quick to make shock debut

Ashes, Cricket, featured, Scott Boland, The Ashes

Scott Boland will debut for Australia in the Boxing Day Test against England, after captain Pat Cummins confirmed on Christmas morning that the Victorian had received one of the most surprising call-ups in recent years.

The 32-year old joins Cummins in replacing Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson from Australia’s comfortable win in the second Test in Adelaide, with the Western Australian joining Josh Hazlewood in being ruled out of the match at the MCG through injury.

According to Cummins, Boland’s outstanding record at the venue, where he has taken 91 wickets at 25.71 in 26 games for Victoria, was a ‘huge part’ of getting the nod over the omitted Neser.

“We earmarked him as a chance for here and the SCG in particular,” he said.

“We think his record is really well suited.”

“His record speaks for itself here in domestic cricket. Home ground, having someone fresh like him who can perform straightaway were the big factors.”

Calls to select Boland had been growing louder in recent days, with Sheffield Shield commentator Adam White saying he would be ‘borderline unplayable’.

Cummins said the Aussies would treat a leg injury to Richardson with caution, after he bowled 38 overs in Adelaide in his first Test in nearly three years.

“He was pretty sore… we were umming and ahhing,” Cummins said.

“He had a bowl yesterday but we thought seven days off [until the New Year’s Test] will give him enough rest.

“He’s got a small leg injury which is nothing major, but we thought rather than risking a long-term injury, we’d give him a week off.”

Scott Boland of Victoria runs to congratulate Marcus Harris of Victoria as they celebrate combining to dimiss Matthew Gilkes of New South Wales during day four of the Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and Victoria at Drummoyne Oval, on October 30, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Scott Boland. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Boland is the first Australian to make his debut on the biggest day on the Test calendar since Joe Burns in 2014 against India. As expected, the news was the perfect Christmas present for the fast bowler.

“He’s really excited obviously,” Cummins said.

“It’s a dream for him to wear the Baggy Green. Packed MCG on Boxing Day, it doesn’t get any better.”

Boland becomes just the second men’s Indigenous player, after Jason Gillespie, to earn a baggy green. Hailing from the Gulidjan tribe in Colac, an outstanding Sheffield Shield campaign for Victoria has seen him pocket 15 wickets at just 10.80.

He has represented Australia before, playing 14 ODIs and three T20Is throughout 2016.

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