Holland confused by selection snub
Left-arm Victoria spinner disappointed to be overlooked for Australia’s tour of India after a stunning run of form
17 January 2017, 04:45 PM AEST
Victoria spinner Jon Holland says he has "no idea" why he was overlooked for Australia's Test tour of India, adding he'll be fit to return to first-class cricket in two weeks.
Holland, the leading spinner in Shield cricket this summer, played two Tests in Sri Lanka last year but has missed out on Australia's 16-man squad for the four-Test series, with Australia opting instead for incumbents Nathan Lyon and Steve O'Keefe, as well as Western Australia's Ashton Agar and uncapped Queensland legspinner Mitchell Swepson.
The left-armer has been sidelined by an ankle injury for the past six weeks but has returned to training and will play second XI cricket in Geelong next week and then Victoria's Shield match against NSW starting on February 1, which is more than three weeks before the first Test against India in Pune.
The 29-year-old says he hasn't had any contact with selectors in five months so he's unable to explain why he wasn't picked.
"I haven't spoken to a selector since the last Test in Sri Lanka," Holland told cricket.com.au.
"I've had no communication with anyone.
"I've got no idea (if injury was a factor). No one has tried to get in contact with me and ask me how I'm going.
"I guess it's disappointing. I got over to Sri Lanka and had a couple of net sessions before the first Test and I felt like I learnt a lot over there. And I've come back here and my bowling has improved a lot.
"I've taken almost 50 wickets in my last eight Shield games.
"It'd be interesting to see what the reasons are that I didn't get selected. No one has been in contact with me so I've got no idea."
Holland took 27 wickets at 18 for the Bushrangers in the first half of the Shield season and claimed 14 wickets in just two first-class games last summer, including a match-winning haul of eight in the Shield final against South Australia.
It was his form at the end of last summer that earnt him a call-up to the Test squad for their tour of Sri Lanka in August, rushed into the squad following the series-ending injury to O'Keefe in the first Test.
Given less than a week to prepare for his first international assignment in conditions his more experienced and better-acclimatised teammates were unable to master, Holland took just five wickets at 55 across two Tests as the tourists slumped to a 0-3 series defeat and their ninth consecutive Test loss in Asia.
While he's now focused on guiding Victoria to a third consecutive Shield title, Holland says Test cricket remains his ultimate goal.
And he says selectors have done the right thing by picking a spin-heavy bowling attack for the India tour, even if he won't be there himself.
"That's probably where they missed out in Sri Lanka, only taking two spinners (in the original touring party)," he said.
"(Picking four spinners) gives some guys some exposure to those conditions for those who haven't been over there.
"Being a part of the group in Sri Lanka was a great experience for me and I'd love to get another crack at it, especially in those conditions after learning so much like I did over there."
Leading spinners, 2016-17 Sheffield Shield (min 10 wickets)
Jon Holland (Vic) - 27 wkts @ 18.48 in five matches
Ashton Agar (WA) - 16 wkts @ 27.81 in four matches
Will Somerville (NSW) - 11 wkts @ 17.90 in two matches
Steve O'Keefe (NSW) - 11 wkts @ 19.90 in two matches
Mitchell Swepson (Qld) - 10 wickets @ 43.00 in four matches