South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Johannesburg March 1, 2009

Australia's search for an allrounder ends

Cricinfo staff


Is it Botham, Flintoff or Kapil? No, it's Mitchell Johnson © Getty Images
 

Mitchell Johnson's unbeaten 96 in Johannesburg has seasoned judges predicting he will develop into a fully-fledged allrounder - or better. Mark Waugh believes Johnson can be like Ian Botham or Kapil Dev while Mark Taylor and Jason Gillespie also expect big things.

"He bats a bit further down the order than someone like Andrew Flintoff, but if he manages to average over 30 with the bat and under 30 with the ball, you could argue that is a high-class allrounder," Gillespie said in the Sunday Mail. "That 96 was an outstanding knock and I'm sure there's more than one three-figure score just around the corner."

Waugh was impressed while commentating on FoxSports. "He has the ability to bat at six and play a role like an Ian Botham or a Kapil Dev," Waugh said.

Johnson, who now averages 31.47 in his 19 Tests, entered at No. 9 with Australia wobbling at 7 for 296, but he put on 117 with Marcus North to steer Australia to safety. He hit an Australian record of 26 runs from a Paul Harris over and was stranded when Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus were dismissed in consecutive balls.

Taylor said Johnson's performance showed the search for a multi-skilled player should end. "Along with someone like Brad Haddin, between the two of them we're forming that allrounder spot," Taylor said. "I don't think there is a great need to chase down an allrounder - we've already got one."