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Boland's Test window remains open after being rested from Big Bash

Andrew Mathieson -

Even the crosstown rivals of the Melbourne Stars have come to the defence of Scott Boland over the quick not being made available for the entirety of the Big Bash, after Cricket Australia dragged the Test-starved quick from warming up for the upcoming summer of cricket.

There will be a list of restrictions on the number of T20 appearances the 34-year-old is able to play this season that included the withdrawal from Thursday night's opener.

Unsuspecting fans in Brisbane turning up to watch Boland bowl to Test batters Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne, however were given a rude shock in finding out the second male Aboriginal cricketer to represent his country was fit but still left on the sidelines.

Boland was told his bowling workloads leading into the upcoming three Tests against Pakistan and a further two against the West Indies would be managed in an indication the Australian bowlers could be rotated and the Victorian may play in multiple Tests.

Only Boland and Nathan Lyon are understood to have these orders from Cricket Australia's directive, strangely after the Gulidjan man has been used sparingly in breaking up the pace cartel trio of Pat Cummins, Josh Heazlewood and Mitchell Starc.

The move has Melbourne Renegades coach David Saker fuming with the opening Test match of the summer in Perth not due to start for another week.

Boland is one of five pacemen named in the Australian squad competing for just three fast-bowling roles that also includes West Australian speedster Lance Morris.

The fact that selectors will not be tempted to pick four seamers on a bouncy wicket was made clearer by Lyon, a spinner bowling off very few steps, also being rested in the first week of the Big Bash.

Saker has a vested interest in how the limited number of games for Boland plays out after returning to run up for for the Stars in a second stint after three years at the Hobart Hurricanes.

Lyon similarly was recruited to boost the other Melbourne side's performances following a spotty time at the Sydney Sixers.

"I want the best players in the whole of Australia playing in this competition," Saker told CODE Sports.

"I cannot see how Scotty Boland bowling four overs is going to have a huge effect on him and he's been playing enough cricket.

"Four overs is not going to kill him."

Boland had become an iconic figure and a hero around the nation since an incredible 6-7 on Test debut for Australia two summers ago on his home MCG wicket.

Capturing 18 wickets in the last three Tests to finish the Ashes series with the absurd starting average of 9.55 was not enough to keep his spot and was soon made redundant before Australia's next match overseas at the expense of Hazelwood.

Boland did play three of the five Tests in Australia last summer in back-to-back series against West Indies and South Africa, but since debuting nearly two years ago he has been left out of nine of the past 16 matches.

The inclusion for the World Test Championship final after Hazelwood struggled with the same injury that had finally given Boland a first opportunity was a masterstroke after his key top-order wickets ensured Australia won the title.

But then inexplicably missed three of the ensuing five matches in the drawn Ashes series that followed in England, and altogether was snubbed eight times in 12 away Tests on tour.

Big Bash general manager Alistair Dobson acknowledged Boland's absence, but has laid the decision behind premeditated plans to rest the ageing first-class veteran down to Cricket Australia's high-performance unit.

"It has always been the nature of the Big Bash to play in and around the international summer," Dobson told SEN Radio in Melbourne.

"It does sometimes impact player availability, but it's also one of the great strengths of our competition…but that always comes with some compromise around players."

Dobson admitted Boland is likely to miss more games for the Stars in what is a "fine balancing act", but also believed Cricket Australia does a "pretty good job" towards accommodating the schedule of Test stars into their Big Bash calendar.


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