Joel Paris has taken 14 wickets at 16.85 at WACA, which also happens to be his home ground © Cricket Australia/Getty Images
In the months after the 2011 World Cup, James Pattinson made his ODI debut. So did Pat Cummins. So did Mitchell Marsh. All players who have impacted international cricket, and who got their first chance near the start of a new World Cup cycle. Selectors view one-day cricket in four-year blocks, and after Australia lifted the trophy at the MCG last March, the search is now on for men who could become key players in the coming years.
The ODI series against India, starting in Perth on Tuesday, is Australia’s first home one-day series since their World Cup triumph, and while the usual suspects will be there – Steven Smith, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell – there could be a very different looking pace attack. Two fast men are both in line for debuts, the Western Australian left-armer Joel Paris, and the Victorian right-armer Scott Boland.
Josh Hazlewood and James Faulkner are in the squad, as is Kane Richardson, so there is international experience among the fast men, but Australia’s selectors will be especially keen to see how Paris and Boland handle the step up. At 23, Paris has impressed the selectors already with his bounce and swing; he has been a leading Matador Cup wicket taker in the past two seasons, even if he only made his first-class debut in November.
Part of that is down to injury preventing him from breaking into the Sheffield Shield last summer but now at full fitness, Paris has been fast-tracked into the ODI squad in the absence of injured Mitchell Starc. He is every chance of making his debut on his home ground at the WACA, where he has taken all 14 of his first-class wickets at 16.85.
“If I do get the opportunity to play, it is going to be a fantastic crowd in WA and being my home state as well, little bit of nerves but I think that is a good thing,” Paris said in Perth on Saturday. “I will certainly be using that as a positive rather than a negative.
“It has been a tough couple of years. I have not played a lot of cricket over the last couple of years. I had a quad injury last year that kept me out for the majority of it, and then earlier in the pre-season I had a bit of a relapse with it again. I was not really sure if I would play any cricket this year and fortunately it has worked out pretty well so far.”
Paris has the height to extract good bounce and worry the Indian batsmen on the WACA surface, but swing is a key weapon for him, and he knows what works best for him is not always digging it in too short. He will also be keen to play the second ODI at the Gabba, a venue that has brought him the remarkable figures of 7 for 47 from two List A games.
“It’s no secret here and the Gabba are the two pitches in Australia that have the most bounce and carry,” Paris said. “Especially here if you put the ball in the right areas, pitch it up and try and bowl full and swing the ball you’re as good a chance as anyone of taking a wicket.”
Boland, 26, also has strong recent form at the WACA, having bowled Victoria to victory there with 7 for 31 in the second innings of a Shield game in November. His state team-mate and ODI wicketkeeper Matthew Wade believes Boland could become a key death bowler for Australia, having worked hard at that part of his game in recent seasons.
“Scotty was already pretty good at that just with natural talent; he’s worked really hard over the last 18 months to really hone those skills and be a finisher,” Wade said. “That’s probably got him picked in the Australian team, to be honest. He can bowl up front with the newer ball but his death stuff’s been outstanding over the last 12 months. So he’ll own that and hopefully dominate that for us.”
Both Paris and Boland are expected to play at some point during the five-match series against India. And if they handle the step up to international cricket well, the best part of a four-year World Cup cycle remains for them to establish themselves in the ODI setup.
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo