Victorian paceman Scott Boland could make a dream Test debut at the MCG after being drafted into Australia’s squad on Tuesday.
Nathan Coulter-Nile suffered a dislocated shoulder in Monday night’s Big Bash League clash in Perth.
The duration of Coulter-Nile’s stint on the sidelines is yet to be determined but he will not be fit for the second Test against the West Indies starting on Saturday.
Coulter-Nile served as 12th man in the first Test at Hobart.
Boland, a right-armer who has played 27 first-class games for Victoria and is currently representing the Melbourne Stars, is fully expected to carry the drinks in the Boxing Day Test.
Josh Hazlewood, Peter Siddle and James Pattinson have all enjoyed an extended break after skittling the West Indies inside three days.
None of the trio are at risk of being dropped.
However, there are ongoing concerns about Hazlewood’s workloads.
If Hazlewood is subsequently rested for the third Test because of a short turnaround, Boland will be well placed to be given a baggy green at the SCG.
Coulter-Nile’s setback is the latest blow to deplete Australia’s pace battery this summer.
Mitchell Starc (ankle surgery) and Pat Cummins (stress fracture) are both sidelined, while Mitchell Johnson retired during the second Test against New Zealand.
It was no surprise that selectors settled on Boland as Coulter-Nile’s replacement.
Chairman of selectors Rod Marsh put Boland on standby for the first Test against West Indies because of concerns about the fitness of Siddle and Hazlewood.
“(Selector) Trevor Hohns has seen him in three Shield game and he says he’s been outstanding,” Marsh said at the time.
“One of the state coaches said to me ‘when he bowls and your team is batting, you never feel comfortable, you always feel as though a wicket’s about to happen’.
“You always think a wicket’s not far away.
“It’s a really good story.
“He’s snuck under the radar, he’s not necessarily a fashionable bowler … it’s a very pleasant story for a very pleasant young man.”
Boland has done a lot of work on his fitness in recent years, dropping 22 kilograms.