Gillespie urges selectors to pick Tait or Johnson
Jason Gillespie has encouraged Australia to pick a young bowler for the Ashes even if it means he misses out. Gillespie has moved up the pecking order with injuries to Stuart Clark and Michael Kasprowicz, but he must also overcome the claims of the developing fast men Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson to get a start against England.
Gillespie, 31, said he was content with his current position on and off the field and while he would love to play the first Test in Brisbane from November 23, it was time for the selectors to consider new options. "You've got to be a realist sometimes," Gillespie told The Australian. "They [the selectors] can afford to go for an inexperienced young punk because how much experience is in that bowling attack?" The combined records of Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Brett Lee show more than 1400 wickets in more than 300 Tests.
"You can have a young fellow come on first change like a Tait or a Johnson and let them loose," he said. "Give them a bit of free rein. Let them enjoy themselves and have a good time. I reckon it would be a great thing if they picked a young bloke."
Gillespie, who scored a double-century in his last Test against Bangladesh, said both players offered an "x-factor". "Tait can run through teams," he said of his South Australia team-mate. "He bowls with genuine pace, swinging yorkers and he's unpredictable. He's got some serious talent.
"Young Mitch is an extremely talented bowler. He's fast and he swings them. He gives you left-arm variety. He's obviously very green, but he's got plenty to offer. He just needs to trust his body, and he will as he fills out a bit more and gets stronger. He's going to be the real deal, I think."
Tait, 23, played his first two Tests on the 2005 Ashes tour but has struggled since then with a shoulder problem. Johnson is currently with the Champions Trophy squad, although he missed the first match, and he was the find of the Malaysia warm-up trip with 4 for 11 against India.