Vaibhav Tripathi ∙ Jun 10 2023, 2:00 PM | 2 Min Read

Ricky Ponting Favours Fit Hazlewood over Boland for the Ashes 2023

image-lipnmdmwJosh Hazlewood (L) presenting debut cap to Boland (R). (AP Photo)

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting praised Scott Boland's display but emphasized that if the renowned paceman Josh Hazlewood is fully fit for the first Ashes Test, he would regain his position in the team.

Hazlewood's failure to recuperate in time for the World Test Championship (WTC) final resulted in his exclusion from the squad. Although he was anticipated to feature in the crucial encounter against India, his recurring Achilles Tendon injury forced him to miss the final match. Ponting firmly believes that if Hazlewood is fit, he will be preferred over Boland in the Ashes series.

Ponting expressed, "Nothing changes for me. If  (Josh) Hazlewood is fit and they are 100% convinced that he can get through the game, then I think he'll start, but if he doesn't, you have a pretty good back-up."  His remarks were reported by ESPNcricinfo.

In the ongoing WTC Final, Boland showcased his skills by claiming two vital wickets, conceding just 59 runs. Ponting commended Boland for his outstanding performance in the final and hinted that he might be in contention for a place in the playing XI for the first Ashes Test.

"Scotty (Scott Boland) is very impressive. The thing the selectors might be thinking about is Josh's injury record over the last few years. When you look at it, with Scotty bowling the way he is, it's a pretty compelling argument to say is he in their starting XI for the first Test. Looking ahead, though, with five Test matches in six weeks, don't think we can expect either bowling group to get through [fully], both teams will probably have to rest a quick or two here and there through the series,"  added Ponting.

Ponting's assessment highlights the delicate balance between selecting a fit Hazlewood and considering Boland's exceptional form in the WTC final. The decision will be influenced by Hazlewood's injury history and the demanding schedule of the upcoming Ashes series. The Australian selectors will need to carefully evaluate the situation to ensure they play with their best bowling combination in the Ashes 2023.