Pat Cummins confirms Australia's third seamer choice ahead of WTC final at The Oval
On expected lines, skipper Pat Cummins has firmed up the in-form Scott Boland as Australia's third specialist seam option ahead of backup pacer Michael Neser for the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) at The Oval.
Boland, who has enjoyed an exceptional run at the Test level since his famous Ashes debut last summer, will get the chance to derail the mighty Indians in favourable English conditions from Wednesday (June 7).
Captains Cummins confirmed Boland's inclusion on the eve of the ultimate WTC 2021-23 finale in London, insisting there are "no surprises" as Australia revert to mean in playing their premier five-pronged attack, also featuring lead spinner Nathan Lyon and rising young allrounder Cameron Green.
The clash favourites had bed into conditions seamless for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in February-March on Indian shores to play three spinners and have tried to keep the environs at the top of their priority in picking four pace options and Lyon for UK, a balance most likely they will replicate during the forthcoming Ashes.
Boland to play ahead of Neser: Pat Cummins
Boland has edged out Neser despite the latter enjoying multiple fruitful stints in the County Championship and enjoying an impressive body of work in English conditions.
Neser had been a late entrant into the 15-member squad picked for the WTC final after persistent Achilles and side injury ruled out Josh Hazlewood from the plans once again.
Hazlwood, who had bene undergoing a sustained rehab for his injury from the beginning of the year, missed BGT 2023 and the entire IPL 2023 before being approved for the WTC clash. However, an untimely recurrence of the same has thwarted the pacer's wish to play the country's first-ever Test championship finale.
Replacing him is a Victorian seamer whose ability to kiss the track and get it move laterally could trouble the Indian batters still recovering from prolong stint of T20 action via the IPL.
Cummins went on to tell the press he is pretty close to being considered "an equal" or the potential fourth entrant to Australia's league of "big three" pacer merchants given what he has to offer. But the skipper fell short of formally confirming there is a "pecking order" in place.
"We're big on kind of everyone bowling slightly differently," Cummins was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. "Scott is a seam bowler on a good length, but he just offers something slightly different to Joshy Hazlewood, and Starcy being a left hander is bit different."
"So I don't think there's ever a pecking order. You think about the three guys that you want to go out and play."