16/04/2024
Scott Boland

Scott Boland's Test debut will forever be remembered, with his 6/7 in the second innings of the Boxing Day Test securing the series win for the Aussies. Photo: Cricket Australia.

Scott Boland's Test debut will forever be remembered, with the Victorian at his home ground claiming 6/7 in the second innings of the Boxing Day Test.

Victorian cricket supporters were behind Scott Boland at the MCG when the fast bowler made his Test debut in the third instalment of the Ashes series, but by lunch on day three when he claimed 6/7 off four overs, he had the entire cricket world chanting ‘we love Scotty’.

The 32-year-old had begun giving up on his chance of ever wearing the baggy green, with fellow Victorian fast bowlers in the likes of Peter Siddle and James Pattinson etching ahead of Boland for Australian selection.

But this year, Christmas came a day early for Boland, with him receiving the news on Christmas Eve that he’d been selected as teammates Josh Hazlewood and Jhye Richardson were sidelined.

Boland said he’d been nervous since finding out about his selection but was grateful for the immense amount of support around him including from David Saker, Andrew McDonald and Mick Lewis.

“I was just hoping I was going to be good enough. There was definitely a time where I thought playing for Australia was gone, and probably a couple of years ago, we had a really strong attack in Victoria with Peter Siddle and James Pattinson, so I was fighting for a fast-bowling spot there,” Boland said.

“Since I found out on Christmas Eve that I was playing, I’ve been really nervous and even coming off at lunch on day one I felt like, ‘that was hard work’.  I felt like I wasn’t breathing at all out there, I was just so nervous the whole time.

“To be able to speak to [Andrew McDonald] at lunch and for him to give me really simple and clear instructions on what he thinks I need to do to do well makes my job really easier knowing he has my back, and he knows my bowling so well.”

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Boland’s debut was going to be special nevertheless happening at the MCG, with fans straight from day one getting behind the Victorian, who in the first innings recorded 1/48, and took a further two catches.

“I’ve never played in front of a crowd that’s been so supportive of me like that. I’ve played in a couple of games in the Big Bash League where the crowd’s been big here at the MCG but I’ve never had a crowd behind me like that, so I tried to soak it up when I was down at fine leg,” he said.

“It just felt like they were pushing me in when I was running into bowl.

“Coming into the game, I knew that I was going to have a bit of cloudiness or fogginess with my thinking with the crowd being so loud, and obviously being different to what I’m used to bowling with the red ball, I was just trying to stick to what I’ve done the past five, six, seven years in Shield cricket because I knew that’s what got me here to this point.”

Despite the nerves, Boland was able to settle with ball in hand, being so familiar with the MCG’s pitch and field.

“I’ve done a huge amount of work at the MCG. When you’re so familiar with the ground it one, makes me feel more comfortable debuting here and two, you know what length to bowl here, you know what the bounce is like,” he said.

“I found my natural length here now; it’s been working well the last couple of years.”

With such an impressive performance, one earning Boland the Johnny Mullagh Medal, named after Australia’s cricket icon in which Boland travelled to the United Kingdom in 2018 to retrace the steps of him and the 1868 Aboriginal XI, he has kept himself in the mix for selection for the fourth test at the SCG from January 5.

Although right now it’s not on the mind of Boland who is looking forward to celebrating with his teammates the retainment of the urn.

“[We’ll] wait and see, but firstly [I want to] enjoy winning the Ashes. I’m not sure [if I’ll be selected], I haven’t looked that far ahead,” he said.

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