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Boland expected to fly home for Victoria's crunch Shield match after unused summer in Test squad

Jarred Cross -

Fringe Test quick and Gulidjan man Scott Boland is a chance to board a plane and head home for state duties in the coming days after Australia named an unchanged XI for their second match against New Zealand.

Ahead of an eight-month break between Tests, the favoured bowling quartet of Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and skipper Pat Cummins is set to play a record seventh-straight match in Christchurch, starting Friday, after going the entire southern hemisphere summer unchanged. 

Boland spent the entire campaign spanning across three months and three opposition nations in the squad without selection. 

Without a last-minute setback to the side in Aotearoa, Boland is expected to head home for his Victoria's crucial Sheffield Shield fixture with Western Australia in Naarm beginning on Monday. 

In his most recent red-ball game with the Vics, Boland eclipsed Paul Reiffel as his state’s all-time first class wicket-taker in a rain-affected draw with NSW. 

Currently sitting third on the table, Victoria are eyeing off a third-straight Shield final - which they can secure and leapfrog second-placed WA with a win over the defending champions at home next week. 

Victoria lost both the 2021-22 and 2022-23 finals against WA.

Boland celebrates a wicket with teammates during the 2022/23 Sheffield Shield final against Western Australia at the WACA, Perth. (Image: AAP)

The winner of the two sides is likely to meet Tasmania, who play fifth-placed South Australia next week, in this season's decider. 

On Thursday, Cummins flagged the possibility of Boland being there for a crack at securing a spot.

“There was talk of maybe sending Scotty back for Victoria but maybe holding Nes (fellow touring back up seamer Michael Neser) back for Queensland, just to annoy (Test batters and Queensland players) Marnus (Labuschagne) and Uzzie (Usman Khawaja)," he joked.

Boland last played for the Test side during last year’s Ashes Series in England. 

The 34-year-old has a complicated history in Shield finals after five appearances since his first class debut in 2011.

After lifting the silverware in back-to-back victories in 2015 and 2016, Boland missed Victoria’s three-peat the following year before taking three wickets against NSW for his third title in 2019. 

NSW was handed the Shield the following year after the back end of the season was cancelled due to the COVID19 pandemic with Victoria finishing second. 

WA were crowned champions after 2022’s drawn final where Boland claimed figures of 3/80 in his side’s only innings in the field. 

This time last year, before meeting in the final a week later, Boland was named player of the match with 8 wickets against WA in the final round of the head-to-head season.

He went on to take 3/67 in a losing effort when the two sides came together again.

Victoria hosts WA at the Junction Oval from Monday. 

Australia’s second Test against the Blackcaps in Christchurch starts on Friday morning.


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