Scott Boland’s scintillating Test debut has been one of the big sporting stories of the summer and Jason Gillespie couldn’t be happier.
Jason Gillespie says the Indigenous community is “incredibly proud” of Scott Boland, who this week became the second Indigenous man in history to play Test cricket for Australia.
Before a side strain ruled Boland’s fellow paceman Josh Hazlewood out of the Boxing Day Test, Gillespie was the only Indigenous Australian man to have donned the baggy green in a Test.
Boland wrote his name beside Gillespie’s in the history books when he was called into the side at the 11th hour.
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The proud Gulidjan man was outstanding on debut, recording figures of 6-7 in the second innings to ensure Australia would retain the urn only three matches into the five-Test series.
Gillespie, who’s spending the summer coaching the Adelaide Strikers, congratulated Boland on his debut, for which he was awarded the Mullagh Medal as the Boxing Day Test’s player of the match.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of Scott,“ Gillespie said.
“To get figures of 6-7 is pretty extraordinary and pretty surreal, particularly on debut.
“It’s a wonderful achievement but that achievement hasn’t come out of the blue. Scott has performed really well for Victoria over many years, toiled away and worked really hard.
“He thoroughly deserved that opportunity. It’s fair to say he grabbed it with both hands.”
Gillespie said he wasn’t the only one with whom Boland’s historic debut had resonated.
“The Indigenous community is incredibly proud of what Scott achieved. That’s going to go down in Test folklore,” he said.
“(Taking) 6-7 on debut, it was a big contribution to retaining the Ashes for Australia.”
Gillespie said he didn’t envy the decision awaiting the Aussie selectors – despite his scintillating performance, Boland could find himself dropped for the fourth Ashes Test if Hazlewood recovers from his side strain in time to take the field.
“It’s a really tricky one,” Gillespie said.
“I’m not a medical expert but in my experience (side strains) take a little while to heal.
“It’s up to the selectors but if Josh Hazlewood is fit and firing, he’s one of the first names on the team sheet. He’s a wonderful bowler.
“It’d be pretty tough on Scott (to be dropped) but I think what that highlights is the depth that we’ve got in fast bowling in Australia.
“If Scotty misses out, he’d be desperately unlucky, but unfortunately that’s professional sport.
“I would not want to be a selector for those decisions.”
Australia’s chairman of selectors George Bailey on Thursday said he would need to have some “hard conversations” ahead of the Sydney Test, which gets under way January 5.
“It’s a great headache,” Bailey said of Australia’s selection dilemma.
“We don’t mind a headache at this time of year. I would much rather have that headache and some tough decisions to make than be scratching our heads trying to find a solution for a problem.”
Source: News AU