It’s set to be a tough few nights for Chief Selector George Bailey heading into the fourth Test at the SCG, but he’s happy with the headache that he and the selection panel have ahead of them.
They’ve had to make a few tough calls in this Ashes series. However they’ve all paid off, with Australia now holding an unassailable 3-0 lead in the Ashes with two games to play.
There have been three debutants so far this series, Alex Carey, Michael Neser & Scott Boland receiving their maiden baggy green caps with all three playing a role in each victory.
Boland was the most recent of the debutants on Boxing Day, picking up remarkable match figures of 7-55 at the MCG, including 6-7 off four overs in the second innings as well as winning the Johnny Mullagh medal, awarded to the Player of the Match.
Alex Carey has slotted seamlessly into the Australian lineup behind the stumps, playing all three tests. He’s gotten 14 dismissals so far, including a record eight on his Brisbane debut, and has rarely dropped anything that’s come his way.
Bailey has been very happy with how comfortably they’ve settled into the test side
“I think a lot of the credit there goes to the players and the staff that are around the group to allow them to settle in so comfortably,” Bailey said.
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He added that Boland had been on their radar for a while and that they always had contingencies in place.
“The one thing that the last couple of years has taught us is that you’ve always got to have a few contingencies up your sleeve,” he said.
“We’ve spoken a lot about our desire to try and build some depth and build some robustness within our teams. It all fell into place (last test).”
Despite those astonishing figures on debut, Boland might not get the chance to play at the SCG, with Bailey facing a tough choice in selecting either Josh Hazlewood or Boland. However, he said was happy with having this type of headache.
“I would much rather have that headache and some tough decisions to make than be scratching our heads trying to find a solution for a problem.”
Bailey also mentioned they are considering a fourth debutant in as many matches, with Queensland leg-spinner Mitch Swepson a chance to make his debut in the New Years’ test.
The 28-year-old has been around the national setup for a number of years, including being a member of Australia’s squad in the recent T20 World Cup triumph.Embed from Getty Images
On a dry SCG wicket with three successive series in the subcontinent coming up, the time may be right to give 28-year-old Swepson a taste of Test cricket and bowl in tandem with Nathan Lyon.
“If the conditions suit, we’d love to give Sweppo a crack,” Bailey said.
“Love having him around the group, love everything he’s bringing, his cricket gets better and better and better,” he said.
“He’s a great young leader so would love nothing more for him to get an opportunity, but it’ll be conditions dependent.”
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