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Bird frustrated at Test omission

Cricket

Tasmania pace bowler Jackson Bird is frustrated at being left out of the Australian Test cricket squad this summer.

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The Tasmanian paceman, with three Tests already under his belt, is the second-leading wicket-taker in Sheffield Shield cricket this season.

But he has been overlooked for the Australian Test squad, even with the retirements of Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson and season-ending injuries to Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins.

“It is frustrating a little bit,” Bird said. “It’s something that I would love to do again, but you can’t control what happens.”

Bird, who sends them down at a notch over 130km/h, does not appear to fit the need for speed.

Instead they opted to bring Nathan Coulter-Nile in as 12th man in Hobart, even though he had not played a Shield game all season, and named uncapped Victorian Scott Boland in the 13-man squad.

“I can understand why they want guys who bowl 145km/h,” he said.

“But I suppose history suggests that you don’t have to bowl express pace to do well at Test level.

“I feel like I’m more of a like-for-like replacement for someone like Josh Hazlewood or Peter Siddle.”

He knows he’s bowling well and accepts that’s all he can do.

“It does your head in a bit if you think about it too much.”

Missing again from the squads for the Melbourne and Sydney Tests, Bird will – somewhat ironically – replace one of Australia’s fastest ever bowlers, Brett Lee, in his first summer with the Sydney Sixers.

“Tough shoes to fill,” said Bird, who left the Melbourne Stars at the end of last summer’s tournament.

“He bowled a lot at the death but I bowl a lot more up-front.”

Bird made his Test debut in the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka in 2012 and played two more matches for Australia in 2013 before back and neck injuries kept him on the sidelines.

– AAP

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