Hardie fit for Western Australia, Boland available in boost for Victoria

Australia

Allrounder Aaron Hardie has been passed fit for Western Australia’s vital Sheffield Shield clash against Victoria in Melbourne from Monday where the winner will face Tasmania in the final.

Hardie has been sidelined since facing Tasmania in Hobart in mid-February where he suffered a minor calf injury. He had been due to join Australia’s T20I squad in New Zealand.

Ashton Agar has also been included in WA’s squad as they cover all bases for the conditions they could face at Junction Oval. If Agar plays it would be his first first-class match since the SCG Test against South Africa early last year.

He has been overtaken in WA’s red-ball pecking order by offspinner Corey Rocchiccioli who has been one of their standout bowlers this season with 37 wickets at 30.21.

Agar has also slipped down Australia’s white-ball hierarchy having been ruled out of the ODI World Cup through injury. He has not played an international since the tour of South Africa in early September where he suffered a recurrence of a calf problem. He may yet come back into contention for the T20 World Cup.

Victoria have been boosted by the availability of Scott Boland with the fast bowler released from Australia’s Test squad in New Zealand. Boland has made five appearances for Victoria this season between reserve duty with the national side and having his workload managed, taking 26 wickets at 16.50.

There remains a slim chance that WA could still host the Shield final in Perth if Tasmania lose to South Australia and don’t gain 0.14 more first-innings bonus points than them.

In the Sheffield Shield teams get six points for an outright win, one point for a draw, plus 0.01 of a bonus point for every run over 200 they score during the first 100 overs of their first innings (ie: 350 after 100 overs nets you 1.5 bonus points) and 0.1 of a bonus point for every wicket a team takes during the first 100 overs of their opponent’s first innings (ie: 10 wickets before 100 first-innings overs elapses nets you 1 point).

If Victoria-Western Australia finished in a draw there is an outside possibility of New South Wales sneaking into the final although they would need a huge amount of bonus points against Queensland.

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