Bring Johnson in for first Test - Border
Mitchell Johnson should be rushed into Australia's squad for the first Ashes Test, according to Allan Border. Despite the opinion of Border, a national selector until two weeks ago, the panel's Merv Hughes said Johnson was no certainty and the Gabba pitch could convince Australia to play two spinners.
Border said Johnson, who claimed 3 for 40 against England in the Champions Trophy, was raw but exciting. "He would be in my 12, definitely," Border told The Age. "To me, we are starting to get to a point where we need to take a bit of a gamble with some young guys. We've got steady performers there, but that's just my thinking to throw someone in there who is a bit different."
Border said having a bowler such as Johnson, a left-armer who can swing the ball at more than 140kph, would add important variety to Australia's attack. "When you've got that core group you can rely on - Warne, McGrath, Lee - is there any harm in throwing that young tyro in there? To me, it's worth the risk, particularly at the Gabba, where he might get a wicket that helps him a bit. Some of the others are not as fast and bouncy as they traditionally have been."
Hughes said Johnson's strong form had not hurt his chances but Australia could pick Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill for traditionally pace-friendly grounds like the Gabba and the WACA. "That also comes down to how the pitch plays in Pura Cup games and also the performance of the players that are in the mix," Hughes said. "And certainly you'd think Stuart MacGill would be in the mix with his performances in Test cricket. Shane Warne and MacGill bowl very well in tandem."