Scott Boland wrote his name into Australian Ashes folklore with his magical 6-7 against England in Melbourne, but his fairytale debut could incredibly be his last Test.
The 32-year-old was called up for his expertise on his home MCG as cover with Jhye Richardson, Michael Neser and Josh Hazlewood either rested or not fit for the third Test.
And he grabbed the opportunity with both hands, helping inspire Australia to victory by an innings and 14 runs to retain the Ashes urn in style.
Not only did Boland become just the second indigenous man – after Jason Gillespie – to play Test cricket for Australia, he also won the Johnny Mullagh Medal as Man of the Match for decimating the tourists in a four-over second-innings blitz.
It was fitting – Mullagh was also an indigenous cricketer, who led an all-Aboriginal team to Britain in 1868.
Yet despite equalling the record for the fastest five-wicket haul in Test history, Boland could well be overlooked for the fourth Test in Sydney starting on 5 January.
“That could conceivably be the last Test that he plays,” former skipper Ricky Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“It’s staggering to think. He’s almost 33, he’s just taken 6-7. Hoff [Hazlewood] has got to come back, Jhye’s probably ahead of him in the pecking order as well.
“If there’s any worry at all with Hazlewood – which one do they pick out of Richardson and Boland? That’s going to be the big selection point I think.”
Australia captain Pat Cummins also flagged the possibility of leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson making his debut at the SCG, traditionally the most spin-friendly of the Australian Test venues, another factor working against Boland.
“I thought it was a really brave call by the selectors to bring in Scotty for this game. Full credit. They’ve made the right call,” said Cummins. “Good luck for Sydney.
“Jhye will hopefully be available, Joshy will hopefully be available and we’ve still got Michael Neser here in the squad.
“No idea [who will get the nod] – it might be a spinning track and you’ve got Mitchell Swepson bowling beautifully. It’s a luxury.”
Boland, who hails from the Gulidjan tribe in western Victoria state, knows he may have played his one and only Test.
“It’s probably wait and see,” he said. “But firstly we’ll enjoy winning the Ashes.”
© Agence France-Presse