Scott Boland Or Josh Hazlewood: Ahead of the start of the Ashes 2023, Australia are facing a major conundrum as to selecting their pace attack for the first Test, starting June 16, Friday, at Edgbaston, Birmingham.
To join Pat Cummins, they have to pick two between senior bowlers Hazlewood, Starc, and Boland, who has had a fairytale start to his Test career so far.
Mitchell Starc seems a close to lock-in given his penetration ability, high pace, left-arm angle and batting contributions. This leaves captain Pat Cummins and coach Andrew McDonald with a major headache to pick one between Hazlewood and Boland.
Josh Hazlewood didn’t play in the WTC Final 2023 against India. He was said to be almost close to full recovery but with the Ashes ahead, Australia didn’t want to risk him by rushing and was believed to be a sure starter in the first Ashes Test.
However, Scott Boland‘s terrific, match-winning performance in the WTC Final – 2/59 and 3/46, which included dismissing Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja in the same over – and his sensational career figures so far – 33 wickets at 14.57 – has made it nigh-impossible for Australia to drop him.
Scott Boland has to stay: Allan Border
Legendary Australian captain Allan Border is of the opinion that Boland should be a certainity in Australia’s XI for the Edgbaston Test. Border reckons Boland has the “perfect” pace and skillset to exploit the English conditions.
“Boland has to stay,” Border told News Corp. He was threatening all the time against India. It was just like Terry Alderman and Terry was just phenomenal in England. They are both the perfect pace for English conditions in the way they kiss the wicket.
“Boland’s style of bowling and his general accuracy makes him the prototype English bowler. In those conditions Boland is just about first picked. They have to keep the same team that beat India.”
“Because of the physique, attitude and strengths that long apprenticeship on backbreaking pitches have instilled, Boland is something of a throwback,” said former England batting great Mike Atherton. “He is the kind of cricketer that fast-medium bowlers of yesteryear would recognise and admire. He is broad-shouldered and has a big backside and a heavy, deliberate walk back to his mark.
“Want a long spell? Boland is your man. Need an hour from someone when the pitch is flat and the batsmen are set? Turn to Boland. He is strong, reliable, consistent and skilful.”