Brad Haddin Willow Talk Ashes Cricket

Haddin Backs Boland For WTC Final, Fears ‘Massive Loss’ For Ashes

Former Test gloveman Brad Haddin has backed Scott Boland to be picked as Australia’s third seamer in the World Test Championship Final against India starting tomorrow night (UK time) in London.

Boland will likely partner captain Pat Cummins and experienced quick Mitch Starc as a three-prong pace attack at The Oval, with allrounder Cameron Green expected to chip in as a fourth seamer as required.


Boland was vying for a spot in Australia’s XI with Josh Hazlewood, but the New South Welshman has been ruled out of the squad with an eye on the upcoming Ashes as he recovers from an Achilles injury and a side complaint he picked up while playing in the Indian Premier League. He has been replaced in the squad by Queensland paceman Michael Neser.

“I think Boland deserves to go straight in the team,” Haddin said on the Willow Talk Cricket Podcast. “He’ll be outstanding in these conditions.

“The way he uses the seam, the length he bowls. We’ve seen he’s ruthless with his line and length and with English conditions just offering enough sideways (movement), I think he’s going to be a huge player not only in the World Test Championship, but also leading into the Ashes, especially with the injury history of late of Hazlewood.”

Boland, 34, has starred since his Ashes debut in 2021 but has not played in the UK, so his experience is light compared to County cricket pro Neser – who has been a top performer for Glamorgan this season – and Hazlewood, who has played eight Ashes Tests in England and was a star bowler four years ago in the 2-2 draw of the 2019 Ashes.

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Hazlewood claimed 20 wickets at an average of 21.85 in four matches of the 2019 series, including the final wicket of the fourth Test at Old Trafford to give Australia an unassailable 2-1 series lead with one match to play.

But since the 2019 Ashes, Hazlewood has played 12 out of a possible 28 Tests for Australia, and just four Tests in the past two years, having been hampered by leg and abdominal injuries.

While Hazlewood is expected to be fit for the Ashes, which starts next Friday at Edgbaston, Haddin says it would be a “massive blow” if he were to be unavailable against England.

“Josh Hazlewood is our best bowler in English conditions,” Haddin said.

“The way he uses the seam, his height in those conditions, he’s one of those bowlers that he adapts for anywhere he goes.

“I’ve seen (national selector) George Bailey saying he’s tracking right, he’s come off his long run, he’s been bowling at full tilt for the last couple of sessions … let’s hope he’s right for the the Ashes but he’ll be a massive, massive loss if he’s not in.”

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