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Boland retains spot on Cricket Australia’s lucrative contracted player list

Jarred Cross -

Fringe Test quick Scott Boland's international career might still have life after being offered a Cricket Australia contract for the 2024-25 schedule.

Despite not featuring in Australia's home summer and being sent home early from Aoteroa late last month, Boland travelled with the side as a stand-by replacement to the first-choice bowling attack in the XI.

In a rare event, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and skipper Pat Cummins played-out the three short Test series against Pakistan, the West Indies and New Zealand without injury or selection changes aided by allrounders Cameron Green and Mitch Marsh contributing with the ball.

Boland, 34, last played in the XI early in Australia's Ashes campaign in the UK.

His retention in the 23-man group forecasts another year of opportunity to add to his 10 Test career at the twilight of his playing days as the go-to replacement in red ball fixtures.

25-year-old Queenslander Xavier Bartlett and Tasmania quick Nathan Ellis are the new fast bowling faces in the centrally-contracted squad, alongside international white-ball blooded duo, Western Australian allrounder Aaron Hardie and Adelaide Strikers captain Matt Short.

They fill contract spots vacated by Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Agar, Marcus Harris, David Warner and Michel Neser.

The number of contracts offered reduced from 24 players for 2023-24.

Neser's axing likely strengthens Boland's position as the main candidate for Test duties with the ball behind the long-time favoured bowling lineup for the upcoming home series with India.

Boland showed his class in Victoria's final two Sheffield Shield outings with 8/88 and 8/92 against NSW and WA as the Vics fell just short of a third-consecutive Shield final appearance.

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