Scott Boland. PC- Getty
Scott Boland. PC- Getty

Fast bowler Scott Boland is heavily tipped to be the third pacer in Australian XI for the upcoming ICC WTC final against India, despite the inclusion of Josh Hazlewood in the final 15-member squad for the summit clash which will begin on June 7 at the Oval in London.

Boland and Hazlewood were both named in a 15-player squad announced by the ICC, with Matt Renshaw and Mitchell Marsh dubbed reserves. Marcus Harris and backup wicketkeeper Josh Inglis are the 14th and 15th players in the squad.

The Test final, according to Australia’s selectors, is a chance to honor the team’s two-year commitment. After stumbling upon a far less taxing set of fixtures between 2019 and 2021, they overcame a highly challenging draw that included Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and India all playing away from home to qualify for the finale, allowing New Zealand to defeat India in the first final at Southampton.

Boland’s record in his seven Tests during the period, 28 victims at the staggering average of 13.42 and strike rate of 36.8, more than merits inclusion.

It’s Been A Pretty Similar Team For A Long Period Of Time: Selector George Bailey

However, when compared, Hazlewood has only been able to play four matches in that time, collecting 10 wickets at 29.7, albeit one of those games was on the dilapidated Rawalpindi surface.

“The way we are looking at that is it’s a culmination of what’s been a pretty consistent two years. It’s been a pretty similar team for a long period of time. We are confident that’s a team and that’s a make-up that can have success,” selection chair George Bailey has said to Sydney Morning Herald.

Hazlewood was unavailable for selection during the Test series in India due to an Achilles problem and subsequently left the IPL early with side soreness. He has also suffered side strains in each of the past two home summers.

Josh Hazlewood
Josh Hazlewood (Credits: Twitter)

While still bowling, he has previously acknowledged that medical staff and selectors must carefully weigh up when to return him to action, meaning it is unlikely he will be rushed back for the Test championship final against India at the Oval, starting on June 7.

“The first long-form game of the summer is always a bit of make or break. If you get through it, you can keep going and going, but if you don’t, then it’s back to square one,” Hazlewood said.

Under ICC regulations, Hazlewood may yet be replaced in the squad if he suffers a setback in his recovery, meaning there is still a chance that Michael Neser will be drafted in.

Australia: Pat Cummins (capt), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Josh Inglis, Todd Murphy, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner.

Reserves: Mitch Marsh, Matt Renshaw.

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