Cricket Australia vs South Africa second Test, Scott Boland picked ahead of Josh Hazlewood, cricket team
Victorian hero Scott Boland will play the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, with Australian captain Pat Cummins revealing Josh Hazlewood’s selfless call ahead of the second Test against South Africa.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday morning, Cummins revealed that Australia would not make any changes to its starting XI from the series opener in Brisbane.
Hazlewood missed the second Test against the West Indies in Adelaide and last week’s Gabba Test against the Proteas due to a minor side strain complaint.
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The New South Welshman, who has taken 217 Test wickets since his debut in 2014, declared himself not quite ready to return for the Boxing Day Test, saving the national selectors from making a tough decision.
“We gave Joshy (Hazlewood) every chance, but it just got to a stage where (he) felt more than anyone else like he was a little bit underdone,” Cummins explained.
“It’s a mark of the man really, he himself said, ‘Don’t feel quite right’ so he kind of pulled himself out of selection.
“We talk a lot about how (as) a team we need a squad mentality and I think it’s another great example.”
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Despite playing just five tests since his debut, Boland has become a household name for his remarkable performances in Australian whites, averaging 10.36 with the ball.
The paceman claimed 6-7 on Test debut at the MCG last summer, demolishing England’s middle order and cementing his name in Ashes folklore.
Speaking to reporters at the MCG on Friday, Boland said he didn’t know on whether he’d get another chance to represent his country on Boxing Day.
“I’m not sure. I hope so, but I’m not sure,” Boland said.
“I haven’t heard a thing, basically.
“Obviously, I’m really hoping that I get to play, but I think we’ve got a couple of big training sessions over the next couple of days.”
Over the last four summers, Boland has taken 49 first-class wickets at 13.41 in seven matches at the MCG.
Josh Hazlewood of Australia. Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images
Australian XI for Boxing Day Test
David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Nathan Lyon