World Test Championship

Three left-field selection options Australia may consider at World Test Championship final

World Test Championship

By Jonathan Healy

Hit For Six!

With conditions in London likely to be vastly different to the ones experienced recently in the sub-continent, Australia may be tempted to use a host of different players in their final XI for the one-off ICC World Test Championship final against India at The Oval in June.

We take a look at three players that didn’t feature - or were used sparingly - during the recent Border-Gavaskar series that may come into contention should Australia shuffle their pack for the Ultimate Test.

Cameron Bancroft 

With conjecture around whether veteran batter David Warner regains his place at the top of the order, or if Travis Head continues in his new role as opener, Australian selectors could look at including in-form right-hander Bancroft in their final XI.

Bancroft hasn't played a Test for Australia since August 2019, with the 30-year-old still feeling the after-effects of being suspended for his role in the ball tampering scandal that engulfed the Aussies in Cape Town in 2018.

But Bancroft is arguably in career-best form and the fact he has scored more runs than any other player in Australia's domestic Sheffield Shield competition this season only adds to his credentials.

Bancroft has also scored plenty of runs in English conditions, with previous county stints at Gloucestershire and Durham having proven fruitful for the Western Australian.

Bancroft has already scored four centuries for Western Australia this season
Bancroft has already scored four centuries for Western Australia this season

Scott Boland 

India's top-order got a brief look at Boland during the first Test in Nagpur of the recent Border-Gavaskar series, but the consistent right-armer only bowled 17 overs and would be a vastly different commodity on England pitches that should suit his bowling style.

It is likely that Australia will play three seamers at The Oval and Boland could be in a race alongside veteran right-armer Josh Hazlewood to partner skipper Pat Cummins and left-armer Mitchell Starc.

The fact that many of India's batters wouldn't have seen much of Boland may work in his favour and one look at his record shows the underrated 33-year-old is more than capable of taking wickets in quick succession.

While Boland has only seven Test match appearances to his name, he has already amassed a total of 28 scalps and his miserly average just north of 13 shows he is extremely hard to score off.

Boland went wicket-less from 17 overs against India during the first Test
Boland went wicket-less from 17 overs against India during the first Test

Mitch Marsh

While Marsh hasn't played a Test match for his country for more than three-and-a-half years and is seemingly behind young gun Cameron Green for the all-rounder spot in Australia's line-up, the 31-year-old is a proven match-winner on his day.

Marsh was arguably Australia's best player during the successful run to their inaugural ICC Men's T20 World Cup title in Dubai in 2021 and has recently returned from an ankle issue in good shape with scores of 56 and 108* for his state in the Sheffield Shield.

Australia skipper Pat Cummins would love to have Marsh's under-rated seamers at his disposal during the one-off Test and the right-armer could potentially slot in behind Green and bat at No.6 should selectors wish to continue with Travis Head at the top of the order.

At the very worst Marsh would appear a strong chance to make the trip to England as cover for Green and he could potentially be utilised should an injury to a key player pop up late in proceedings.

Video cwc19 01 May 22
Player of the Match Mitchell Marsh's decisive innings


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