Scott Boland is set to play his first competitive match since the Sheffield Shield final after being released from Australia’s ODI squad to re-join the ‘A’ side.
Barring another injury in the tourists’ camp, Boland is expected to get crucial match practice ahead of the Test series during Australia A’s second four-day game against Sri Lanka A, which begins in Hambantota on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old seamer, who made an instant impact on debut in the Ashes last summer with 6-7 in the Boxing Day Test, has found himself being shuffled between cities due to Australia’s mounting injury toll during the white-ball leg of the Sri Lanka tour.
The right-armer was initially only included in the A and Test squads and was planning to join the A team for both four-day matches prior to the two-Test series beginning in Galle on June 29 before he was added to the 50-over squad last Tuesday when Kane Richardson was ruled out of the series with a serious hamstring injury.
He wasn’t selected in the first two ODIs in Kandy, with Australia confirming he left the senior squad in Colombo on Saturday to travel to the south coast port city of Hambantota.
Boland has played just four matches since the end of the Ashes, becoming the unfortunate victim of Australia’s subcontinent heavy schedule which saw him carry the drinks during the three-Test series in Pakistan.
He returned from that tour in time to play for Victoria in the Marsh Sheffield Shield final against Western Australia, collecting match figures of 5-115 but it wasn’t enough as WA secured the title on first innings bonus points.
Boland’s return to the A squad could signal good news on the injury front for Australia with Mitchell Starc nearing a return.
The left-arm speedster sliced the index finger of his bowling hand on a shoe spike in his follow through during the first T20I on June 7 – which required six stitches – and hasn’t been able to play since due to International Cricket Council regulations preventing bowlers from wearing tape on their hands.
Starc had the stitches removed last Thursday and is hopeful of playing some part in the remaining three games of the 50-over campaign, as long it doesn’t compromise his chances of playing in the Test series.