Among the countless factors that makes The Ashes such a compelling series is being engulfed in watching two of the best Test teams in the world compete in the country where cricket was born.
However, what’s also truly magnificent is being a witness to some emerging names that drop down the field akin to a twinkling star captivating the attention of fans watching the spectacle in rapt attention.
One such name is Scott Boland. He finds himself on the side that’s already retained the Ashes even if the retention meant the rain gods playing their own tricks.
Now while Cricket Australia are surely pleased to have names like Steve Smith, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Marnus Labuschagne and their other fellow companions, what can you say about Scott Boland?
The man who thrashed England on his Test debut, picking up six wickets in the third innings of the Test.
The Emergence of Scott Boland
A fast bowler from Melbourne had been a stalwart in domestic cricket while playing for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield. Boland made his first-class debut in the year 2011 but came into the eyes of the selectors in 2014-15 when he took 25 wickets in the season, resulting in getting an unexpected call-up for Australia as a stand-by player against West Indies. This was just after he picked up seven wickets against Western Australia.
He toured Sri Lanka, South Africa, and West Indies but couldn’t find opportunities later. He wasn’t effective against India, and when Australia toured New Zealand, he bowled decently. He was a replacement for Kane Richardson and got dropped later when Kane came back.
The Victorian cricketer was not done yet.
He kept delivering exceptional performances for Victoria in first-class cricket, and finally, he got his maiden Test call-up, and that too for The Ashes 2021.
The Perfect Debut
The baggy green, that’s what it’s all about. Right?
Australia were two up in the Ashes after the first two Tests, and then Scott Boland was named in the eleven for the Boxing Day Test. He got his baggy green from Josh Hazlewood, and it was nothing but a dream debut for Scotty as it was his home ground.
The debutant got just one wicket in the first innings and bowled a pretty decent spell. But it was the third innings that rose him to popularity. He just took four overs to demolish the entire English batting line-up. Joe Root, Haseeb Hamid and Jonny Bairstow were three key batters of the English team among six of his wickets. It was his best bowling figures (6-7).
What’s next for this skiddy bowler?
He became an integral part of Australia’s bowling line-up despite having a perfect three-seamer combination as Pat Cummins, Mitchel Starc and Josh Hazlewood. But can you believe it? He is so good that Australian management is ready to drop Starc or Hazzy anytime.
Australian team reached the WTC Final to play against India at the Oval cricket ground, England. As Josh Hazlewood was injured, Boland made his way to the eleven.
It just took him ten strides of his bowling line-up to get his first wicket as Shubman Gill in the Final. And that was just a dream delivery for any bowler as it shaped in with Gill leaving the ball, which knocked the off and middle stump.
With five wickets in the final including Kohli’s, he was the chief architect in Australia’s win.
Given his recent performances, Boland was chosen over Mitchell Starc for the opening Ashes 2023 Test. He was successful in disturbing the batters at Edgbaston and was able to take one wicket in each of the innings. He has shown what he is capable of, and undoubtedly, he will be a huge hindrance in the Bazball approach in the fifth and final Test of the Ashes 2023.
One can say, in search of none, Cricket Australia have found a gem of a bowler.
note- image taken from Twitter