“Can swing it if he wants to”, Steve Smith Praises Boland

Scott Boland
Scott Boland(Image: CA)

Australian batter Steve Smith praises Boland who was named as the replacement player for Josh Hazlewood in the grand WTC 2023 Final game against India. Australia will face India in the ICC World Test Championship final at The Oval, starting on June 7. And after the ultimate test, they will start their Ashes series stint from June 16.

Steve Smith Praises Boland

Boland’s inclusion in the playing XI comes in place of Josh Hazlewood, who was ruled out due to an injury, two days ahead of the final.

Josh Hazlewood
Josh Hazlewood

The 34-year-old Boland has taken 28 wickets in seven Tests since a stunning debut against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in 2021 and now looms as a key weapon for Australia in the WTC final against India.

The right-arm pacer played against India in the first Test match at Nagpur earlier this year but remained wicketless.

On his debut, the Victorian claimed 6/7 – the seventh-best figures for an Australian on a Test debut – and second-best bowling strike rate in a Test inning – 4.00. He finished that series with 18 wickets and a bowling average of 9.55.

While Boland is yet to play a Test in England conditions and went wicketless in his only five-day clash with India in Nagpur, the right-arm pacer was optimistic that he will have the opportunity to play a part in the UK over the coming months.

Steve Smith backed Boland to fill in nicely for Josh Hazlewood. “I think you’ll get what Scotty does pretty well. Hits a good length, hits the top of the stump, snips the ball around, can swing it if he wants to and he’s got great skills as well, so no doubt it’ll be a challenge if he gets the nod,” Steve Smith said.

Before making his Test debut, Boland had made his limited-overs debut in the 2015-16 season. He made his ODI and T20I debut against the same opposition – India – at Perth and Melbourne, respectively.