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Australian great Brett Lee wants Australia to pick Josh Hazlewood over Scott Boland if the former is fit for the Boxing Day Test match against South Africa starting December 26 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Hazlewood missed Australia’s last two Test matches with a minor side strain but is expected to be fully fit for the second Test match at the MCG.
However, Hazlewood’s return to the playing XI means Boland might end up missing the Melbourne Test. It will be a head-scratching situation for the management as Boland has always put in impressive performances whenever he has got a chance.
The 33-year-old has taken 25 wickets in just five Tests at an impressive average of 10.26 and bowled his career-best spell of 6/7 at the MCG on his Test debut during the Boxing Day clash against England.
Lee believes that if Hazlewood, who has taken 217 Test wickets at an average of 26.16, is fit for the Melbourne fixture then the management should pick the 31-year-old pacer over Boland.
“If Josh Hazlewood is fully fit, I‘d be going Josh Hazlewood. Nothing against (Scott) Boland, he‘s a brilliant bowler and gets wickets for fun – but 58 Tests under his belt and 217 wickets in the Hoff. He’s got to be fully fit though. Coming back from a side strain is really tough.
When you think you’re ready, you’ve got to give an extra week. I think what Cricket Australia might do is rest him in Melbourne and play him up in Sydney,” Brett Lee said while speaking to Fox Sports.
Steven Smith also praised Boland for his impressive performances, particularly with reference to the Boxing Day clash against England last year, and stated that it will be tough on Boland if he misses the Melbourne Test.
“I think it’d be tough on Scotty (Boland) if he gets left out for sure. Boxing Day last year he was just incredible and he’s been incredible since he started. He’s got that ability to hit the stumps from probably a shorter length than a lot of the other bowlers being a little bit shorter and a bit skiddier, so brings in both sides of the bat, whereas Josh (Hazlewood) is probably a little bit more bouncy and brings in the outside edge more than the inside edge,” Smith said.
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