Australia Training Session: MCG
Scott Boland is reportedly due to make his debut in the third Ashes Test against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Newscorp mastheads first reported Australian side are set to make one of the biggest shocks in selection history by selecting Boland for the marquee Boxing Day match.
Boland, a proud Gulidjan man from Colac in Victoria, would become just the second Aboriginal Australian to don the baggy green in 144 years.
The 32-year-old Victorian is set to make an extraordinary debut as selectors pin him as an MCG specialist. Boland has excelled at the MCG since curator Matt Page reinvented the Melbourne surface by planting more grass on the drop-in wicket. The MCG pitch is typically a graveyard for fast bowlers, who receive little fruit for their travails, but Boland has been able to extract value and success from the venue.
Boland took 3/33 & 5/56 in his most recent outing at the MCG in a first-class match against New South Wales. As a seasoned first-class cricketer, he has taken 272 wickets, with a large portion of those at the MCG.
He is also set to bring a great deal of fanfare to the occasion as a Victorian player. He will no doubt be welcomed in fine fashion by his home Victorian crowd at the MCG a la Shane Warne, Merv Hughes and Dean Jones.
Newscorp also reported that the Aussies are attracted to the possibility of using Boland as cover for the rotating nature of the Australian quicks this series, but the full line-up of Australia’s fast bowlers is yet to be confirmed.
Pat Cummins is due to return to the side after he was deemed to be in close contact with a COVID-19 case in Adelaide (ruling him out of the second Test). Josh Hazlewood remains in doubt for Melbourne as he continues to deal with a side strain injury.
Boland’s Indigenous heritage makes his debut a very proud day for Aboriginal Australia. Other sports, such as Australian rules football, have incorporated Indigenous culture, with up to 10% of players in the Australian Football League of Aboriginal heritage.
AFL Rd 11 – Sydney v Carlton (Sydney Cricket Ground)
Unfortunately, Test cricket has remained elusive for all but one person, Jason Gillespie, while just five Indigenous players have played ODIs. Boland was the fifth to do so when he made his ODI debut in 2016.
Until now, Jason Gillespie has remained the only Aboriginal Australian to play Test cricket. The fast bowler took 259 Test wickets from 71 matches and is the ninth highest wicket-taker of all time for Australia in Tests.
It has been a regrettable part of the sport, but Gillespie said it was a proud day for Aboriginal Australia:
“I love what Scott brings to the table. He’s a fantastic bowler, he performs in all conditions and he gives his all. A captain’s dream. If that was to be the case (a debut) it would be a proud day for Aboriginal Australia,” he said speaking the The Daily Telegraph earlier this week.
The third Ashes Test will begin at the MCG on Sunday. England require no less than a victory to keep the series alive, which sits at 2-0 to Australia with three games to play.