It’s the height of the Australian summer and a fully fit Scott Boland has not played a game of cricket for almost seven weeks.
But Australia’s reserve fast bowler says he wouldn’t change a thing about his place in the national pecking order, which he believes is set in stone ahead of a potential return to the Test arena against the West Indies later this month.
Boland, who will break a 48-day competitive cricket drought when he lines up for the Melbourne Stars in the BBL on Saturday night, says the Test selectors have made it clear he will be the first cab off the rank should one of Australia’s frontline quicks need a rest during the West Indies series.
That assurance has come despite the impressive form of WA speedster Lance Morris, and the return to fitness of his teammate Jhye Richardson ahead of a series against an understrength West Indies batting line-up.
Cricket Australia rested Boland from three Sheffield Shield games for Victoria in the first half of the summer, but while his sacrifice to stay fresh for the Pakistan series did not amount to any cricket, he said he was at ease with his position.
“I’m the next fast bowler in line, so that’s probably the best place to be apart from being in the team,” Boland said.
“I’d rather be where I am now than not at all … the only downside is you miss out on some games of cricket, but I’m sure over the next few years I’ll catch up on those games.
“I’m pretty happy with where it all sits – the selectors and the coaches’ communication has been really strong.”
Boland suggested a short turnaround between the first West Indies Test in Adelaide and the pink-ball match in Brisbane would increase his chances of breaking back into the side for his first game since the third Ashes Test.
He said the selectors had reinforced he would come in ahead of the likes of Richardson, Morris or Michael Neser if an opportunity emerged.
“That’s what they’ve said the last few months, that their view hasn’t changed of me and I’m still the next one in,” he said.
“I’m not sure of any rotations or anything … it’ll probably depend on how the three other guys pull up after the last few days in Sydney.”
The Stars’ clash with the Sydney Sixers at the MCG on Saturday night will be Boland’s first game in green for almost five years.
He ended a five-season stint at the Stars to join the Hobart Hurricanes, before sitting out last summer’s BBL to dedicate himself to the Test squad.
“It’s nice to be back … they’ve won the last four in a row, so it’s going to be nice to walk into a happy changeroom,” Boland said.
The 34-year-old formed a miserly death bowling partnership with John Hastings during some of the Stars’ most successful seasons, and said he again expected to play an important role closing out the innings.
“I’m sure (my role) won’t be too dissimilar … from what I’ve usually done at the ‘G – I probably know my game plan here better than anywhere else for T20 bowling,” he said.