Holland is slowly making his way to being picked in the national team
Australian spinner Jon Holland has become the talk of the town, and national selector John Inverarity believes that it is only a matter of time before he becomes a household name.
Inverarity noted that Holland does have the potential and skill to be a highly versatile spinner, who could help strengthen Australia’s diminishing stock of spin bowlers, and added that his rapid rise to stardom could see him included in the national team extremely soon.
However, as of right now, off-spinner Nathan Lyon is still the frontrunner to be included in the Test squad for the first Test against South Africa on November 9 in Brisbane.
But, Inverarity believes that if Holland continues to take wickets for Victoria at a healthy rate over the next couple of weeks, the pressure on Lyon will start to mount, and Holland may get a chance to prove himself on the international stage.
On the other hand, Holland has not seen a lot of bowling time as of late since Victoria’s pace bowlers such as James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, John Hastings and Clint McKay have been inflicting most of the damage, leaving Holland with very little to do.
The Australian selection panel want to see Holland bowl more overs after having a lot of success throughout the Australia A tour to England this summer.
Holland picked up 10 wickets at an average of 27.30, whole Lyon could only manage to snap up eight wickets at an average of 48.75.
“I think it’s fair to say that we’re of the view that the two best spinners we’ve got just at this moment are Nathan Lyon and Jon Holland, I saw [Holland] bowl in Adelaide last year in a one-dayer when he got 6 for 29 and he bowled beautifully. There was a variation in spin, a variation in pace and he flighted the ball, he bowled beautifully. We took him on the Australia A tour and he bowled very well. We all go through patches, and Lyon was in a bad patch in England and Holland outbowled him. But Lyon in Adelaide was bowling very differently to the way he bowled in England,” Inverarity said.
Lyon has also been struggling to find any victims in the Sheffield Shield, and this is a sign that Holland may take his spot on the national roster very soon.
Speaking exclusively to ESPNcricinfo, Holland stated that he was ecstatic to hear that Inverarity had given him such a glowing review.
“It’s pretty good to hear that from the chairman of selectors for Australia, but I’m more focused on playing for Victoria at the moment. If that comes along then so be it. But Nathan Lyon is bowling pretty well and he’s done a good job with his opportunities. I dare say he’s still in front. On the A trip he [Inverarity] was over in England, I spoke to him a few times there. He’s been pretty happy with the way I bowl, the way I go about things with my flight. He picked up something with my action in Brisbane on a pre-season camp, I was falling over a bit and my head was going to one side, he said to try and keep that as straight as possible,” Holland said.
Holland has always been on the radar of the national selectors, and was even called up for Australia’s ODI tour to India in 2009, but failed to play a game.
When he first joined Victoria at the age of 21, Holland’s opportunities were very limited since he was always in the shadow of leg-spinner Bryce McGain, but over the last couple of years, Holland has turned his fortunes around and is now Victoria’s star spinner.
Holland has also been called up for four stints at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane, where he gradually developed his bowling technique.
With Victoria’s pace attack knocking down batsmen like dominoes, Holland only bowled 10 overs in his first two Sheffield Shield games, and ended up with figures of no wickets for 34 runs.
“There hasn’t really been a great deal in the wickets for me, but with the bowling attack we’ve had, James Pattinson and Peter Siddle are world-class bowlers and Clint McKay, John Hastings and Andrew McDonald aren’t too far behind them. They’ve done a really good job in the first two games and have taken wickets on a regular basis, so I wasn’t really required at all, which is a good thing from a team point of view. It’s always good to take a few wickets yourself but as long as we’re winning I’m not really that fussed,” Holland said.
Holland is also hoping his bowling style will allow him to have success on any kind of pitch and in all types of conditions as well.
“It’s pretty important on Australian wickets that you do change your pace and your flight, because you don’t get much help out of the wicket, The MCG last year was fairly flat, it didn’t really break up and take much spin. But as long as I’m consistently bowling in the one area it should be right on any pitches and in any conditions. As long as I’m hitting the right spot and changing my pace I don’t think I need to vary my bowling too much,” Holland added.