“Scott Boland is very very unlucky”: Ricky Ponting not surprised by Josh Hazlewood playing ahead of Scott Boland in Sydney Test
|Published January 04, 2023
Expected to make at least a couple of changes for the ongoing third Test match against South Africa in Sydney, Australia ended up making three to put their best foot forward on a surface where spinners bowled seven out of the 28 overs bowled in the first session.
Winning the toss and opting to bat first, Australia captain Pat Cummins confirmed the changes in the form of batter Matthew Renshaw replacing all-rounder Cameron Green, all-rounder Ashton Agar replacing fast bowler Mitchell Starc and fast bowler Josh Hazlewood coming in as a like-for-like replacement for Scott Boland.
The development means that Australia haven’t compromised with their batting strength in addition to playing two spinners and as many pacers for this match.
For the unversed, Renshaw and Agar were included into the Australian squad after Green and Starc were ruled out of the last international match of the home summer. Renshaw, who is playing this match in spite of a positive COVID Test, is making a second comeback to the Test squad after almost half-a-decade. Agar, meanwhile, has also returned to the format after more than five years.
Ricky Ponting not surprised by Josh Hazlewood playing ahead of Scott Boland in Sydney Test
Although not surprised by the home team preferring Hazlewood over an in-form Boland, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting still felt for the latter considering him “very very unlucky” to be missing this Test at the SCG.
“Scott Boland is very very unlucky. I mean Lance Morris has been with the squad for the last couple of weeks but I was going to be surprised if he was going to play a Test match in this summer at all,” Ponting told 7 Cricket.
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“[But] Boland’s record is outstanding. Probably deserves to be in the team. The cold hard fact is that he wasn’t in Australia’s best three fast bowlers at the start of the summer. He got a go due to injury.”
Boland, 32, has picked 28 wickets in six Tests at an average of 12.21, an economy rate of 2.20 and a strike rate of 33.2. However, with Hazlewood (Australia’s first-choice pacer along with Cummins and Starc) regaining optimum fitness, he was always going to play ahead of Boland especially after missing the last three matches and as hinted before the second Test in Melbourne by former Australia captain and current chief selector George Bailey.
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