Australia in Sri Lanka 2011

Johnson 'hasn't lost his mojo' - Clarke

ESPNcricinfo staff

September 21, 2011

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Mitchell Johnson takes a breather, Sri Lanka v Australia, 2nd Test, Pallekele, 1st day, September 8, 2011
It was a tough series for Mitchell Johnson in conditions that he didn't master © AFP
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Australia's captain, Michael Clarke, does not believe Mitchell Johnson is past his best, but he has conceded the selectors will face a tough decision on which fast men to play in the first Test in South Africa. Johnson picked up just six wickets at an average of 52.16 during the series in Sri Lanka this month, and was easily the least effective of the fast bowlers.

Peter Siddle's hard work in his only appearance, during the final Test in Colombo, earned him a four-wicket haul, while Trent Copeland was steady and promising in his debut series. Ryan Harris was the stand-out performer with 11 victims before he missed the final match through injury, and if he is fit for the Tests in South Africa in November, he will be an automatic selection.

That means there will be a squeeze of at least four men for three positions and the selectors, one of whom will be Clarke, face a difficult choice. Johnson has a good record in South Africa, but during the Sri Lanka Tests his angle across the right-handers and into the left-handers became predictable, although Clarke believed his strike bowler had toiled hard without luck.

"I don't think Mitch has lost his mojo," Clarke said after the draw at the SSC, which secured the series 1-0 for Australia. "I still think he's as good a strike weapon as there is in international cricket. I think he's a match-winner with bat and with ball, when he's at his best. Mitch has got some time now if he wants to go away, whether he gets away from the game or if he wants to work on some things.

"He still bowls good pace. I think he bowled well throughout this series and didn't have as much luck as a lot of the other bowlers. You would have seen a lot of play and misses off Mitch. Conditions didn't really swing as well - he got reverse swing - but I don't think you saw any bowler throughout the series swing the new ball all that much.

"Sidds was awesome, again, grabbed his opportunity, made the most of it. It's going to be interesting come the first Test in South Africa for all the bowlers to work out which three quicks, if we go three quicks, are the best three for that first Test match. Sidds has done himself nothing but favours but I still think Mitch is a huge player for us. I think anybody that thinks Mitch is past his best would be very silly."

One thing going in Johnson's favour is the memory of how he performed in South Africa on Australia's last Test tour there, in 2008-09. He was fearsome in the first Test in Johannesburg, swinging the ball appreciably, and finished equal with Dale Steyn as the leading wicket taker in a series won by the Australians.

The conditions in South Africa will be vastly different to Sri Lanka but there are unlikely to be any major changes to Australia's squad after their consistent performances over the past month. Clarke said he was proud of how the players had gelled together in their first series under a new captain, and in the shadow of the Argus report, which was released at the start of the tour.

"There's been a lot of stuff off the field as well that the playing group have had to deal with throughout this series," he said. "I think we've handled it really well so we deserve a lot of credit for that. Every single player has done nothing but grab their opportunity with both hands.

"You've got a guy running drinks in Usman Khawaja who batted like a genius the whole series, got a hundred in the tour match and was really unlucky to miss out in the (third) Test match. In regards to the cricket we've got coming up. We've got a lot of tough cricket. We've got to be ready for that as well. This is a great start. I heard that we're now ranked four in Test cricket, which is fantastic and I'm really happy with that but it's a long journey."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by HatsforBats on (September 24, 2011, 1:10 GMT)

@tdobbo: All those bowlers are quality players and some are very very talented at a young age. If you were implying the opposite, then I'm afraid we may be on a different wavelength. McKay in particular I imagine would be quite successful in county cricket. As for Mitch, he has mojo, it's just that it disappears as quick as it appears. You don't take 100 test wickets in 23 matches without a little something.

Posted by tdobbo on (September 23, 2011, 10:52 GMT)

I agree with you HatsforBats, all names mentioned would struggle to play County Cricket. As for Timid Mitch how can you lose something that you never had in the first place..

Posted by HatsforBats on (September 23, 2011, 6:53 GMT)

@Meety: like you, I doubt Harris will be around in 2 years time. The problem with all those names is the very limited amount of 1st class experience. Barring Butterworth (who is 28-ish and an all-rounder anway, like Faulkner) they're all quite young (19-23) and mostly haven't even played a dozen games! It is hard to judge the tassie kids considering their pitch last year. I'm from NSW so of course I've seen Cummins/Starc/Hazlewood the most, but they definitely look like they will develop into very good and fast bowlers if they can keep the injuries at bay. As far as George & McKay, they haven't been that great in the last 2 seasons. Most will probably disagree, but I rate Siddle. He's still young, we know he has good stamina & aggression, he's quick, got good natural movement into the right-hander and can swing it. I think he'll develop well over the next 2 years and will end up being very similar bowler to Harris. No need for wholesale changes.

Posted by Meety on (September 22, 2011, 23:51 GMT)

@Beertjie - I don't see Harris making it to 2013 mate. I think Copeland will be very tricky in Eng, bear in mind that Zaheer & Kumar hardly reached 130 kph (Kumar struggled to reach 125kph), & they looked dangerous all series (well Zaheer did for his one & only session). So Copeland being young is a definate (barring injury), Coulter-Nile, Butterworth, Faulkner all would be worth a look by then, a young QLDer who I think is excellent (but often injured, how often do you have to say that?) is Ben Cutting, who I think will be brilliant in England. Cummins is a hot prospect, a real speed demon, but - his injured, Hazlewood looked the real deal, (injured), Starc (same, except is back playing again with mixed results), which leaves Pattinson. I think he is worth a look, but I have a gut feeling there is a young Sth Ozzy (Richardson) with one FULL season could jump the Queue ahead of all of them. Plenty of options (not forgetting George & McKay!

Posted by bumsonseats on (September 22, 2011, 18:31 GMT)

AMD was your line up not during some part of the last ashes series not Bollinger, Harris, Johnson and Siddle. all were dropped at one time or another,apart from Harris who only played the 2 nd / 3rd test before getting injured in the 4th.as u guys would say struth. get a grip u have no bowlers other than Harris.with watson the 2nd best a long way behind him. dpk

Posted by   on (September 22, 2011, 14:52 GMT)

johnson is a best pacer.he will bounce back............

Posted by bumsonseats on (September 22, 2011, 12:53 GMT)

play MJ if you want to loose in SA. australia do not a bowler other than harris a leader with genuine class. if he gets injured ( when he gets injured ) the aussies will struggle. were as england could put 5/6 bowlers who could lead the line. most of the aussies pacers are more like 3/4 change. i would put watson ahead of most of them its that bad. dpk

Posted by Beertjie on (September 22, 2011, 12:32 GMT)

For England 2013 I'll go out on a limb and pick the following 5: Harris Pattinson Hazlewood Starc Cummins The trick is who bring and when to do so. I go for Pattinson in SA (for MJ) and Siddle for Copeland (as third seamer). Take MJ along as injuury cover. Then against Kiwis at the Gabba keep him in mind and see how the others on my wish-list are doing. Someone else needs an opportunity this summer. As far as spin is concerned please leave Beer at home (if he plays, he'll be another McGain). Take two offies (Hauritz needs to go and play sometime soon too). However, when it comes to playing spinners against India on the dead tracks, besides one of the offies, consider O'Keefe/Smith and let them play as all-rounders against that weak attack. That way we might get a good result (but please no Pidge-talk about 4-zip whitewashes!).

Posted by ziggywalrus on (September 22, 2011, 12:32 GMT)

Johnson's bowling woes have been attributed to his wrist at delivery, his mental state and now his plain bad luck. In this last series he got six wickets in 3 games, 3 of those tail enders and 2 of those number 11. Unlucky. No one is doubting he has bowled brilliantly in the past. He has won some matches on his own back. If he keeps playing he might just win a match again for Australia. He might. Or not. Hopefully he gets lucky.

Posted by tdobbo on (September 22, 2011, 11:32 GMT)

I agree, England team must be shaking in their shoes at the thought of facing up the Aussie strike force of Timid Mitch and Doug the Thug again in 2013. That would be 8 innings victories in two series I'm thinking...

Posted by AMD. on (September 22, 2011, 6:41 GMT)

Where is Doug Bollinger? Bollinger,Harris,Johnson,Siddle-This line up will be great.

Posted by Wozza-CY on (September 22, 2011, 5:54 GMT)

@whitesXI- On subject of Copeland & Watson in the same bowling attack has only arisen for two reasons a) Watson appears to be fit for bowling again & bowled more overs on this tour than I can remember in recent history b) he has improved his economy rate on this tour. He has always been accurate & was Pontings 'go-to' bowler to tie an end up, but as it was with most things in the last Ashes series, even that didn't go to plan & his lines strayed. The recent tour of SL it appeared all the bowlers were trying to out do each other for accuracy & economy rate. Maybe that was brought on because the debutant was showing them up? The question is, does Clarke have plans to bowl Watson more & move him down the order? If he does, then Copelands role could come under some scutiny (personally I don't think it should). It's not easy to do what Copeland does,.otherwise everyone would do it. Copeland could possibly come under some pressure from Butterworth though. Similar avg & ecnmy but a better bat

Posted by AidanFX on (September 22, 2011, 5:23 GMT)

@ whitesXI I largely agree with you both are fairly accurate and bowl and the same sort of pace, if anything Watson can slip it in a tad faster sometimes. And I keep harpooning on about it but Copeland needs to tank up his body. The guy has got away with too much, saying " I bowl the way I feel comfortable". I acknowledge he has been rewarded for accurate bowling that gets wickets but why hasn't he been coached to train harder? That's why I think they should debut Pattinson in SA - will be an idea bowler for their wickets. The desire to drop Johnson is justified but he might be worth holding onto for the Tour. So Harris, Pattinson, Siddle/ Johnson (either player) plus the spinner, presumably Lyon - decent attack.

Posted by Okakaboka on (September 22, 2011, 5:04 GMT)

@straight_drive4..Nope..You're wrong. Wrong side of the border. And I suppose the selection of John Watkins many moons ago was correct? He couldn't even hit the pitch. I believe..1. O'Keefe should be in the team..this is a no brainer. 2. Haddin is the worst State keeper in the country....Paine and Wade are the best..don't care which one.. 3. Johnston has lost it...can't bowl or bat..this is test cricket! Why is it some players get 2-3 years to get their act together? 4. McGain...Like Krejza, lead to satellite disruption at the elite level. 5. So, McDonald has nothing to offer? Does he bowl at a similar pace to Copeland? Isn't he just as accurate? Watson is a swing bowler...McDonald seams...isn't this a handy combination? Can McDonald bat? Hasn't he got leadership skills? 6. Starc struggles to make the NSW team. 7. I said Siddle is a good number 3 bowler.....NOT King Bwana leader of the attack. We need a number 1 and 2 bowler.. Harris is great, BUT... how long is the piece of string?

Posted by hyclass on (September 22, 2011, 5:01 GMT)

The Argus review was scathing and demanded change,based on performance.The wholesale changes in Australian cricket,are being made where they need to be,in the use of existing institutions and structures and the removal of toxic,administrators,selectors and coaches.The players are not immune to a heavily unsettled environment.It should be obvious to everyone,that Clarke and Hughes saved their best Test batting for years,style wise,for the day before Nielsens public retirement,implying an obvious connection.SA represents an opportunity for a clean sheet approach,that SL did not.While I advocate the inclusions of Bollinger and O'Keefe on performance and the omission of Lyon on form and Harris by injury,there are enough young and inexperienced players in this group to satisfy any development clauses.Id like to see the core of this squad,including Johnson,retained.Pattinson doesnt yet warrant Test inclusion,based on his 1st class record.Coulter-Nile comes to mind as a serious alternative.

Posted by molly07 on (September 22, 2011, 4:36 GMT)

McDonald is a better all rounder then Johnson!! Why not play him.

Posted by RandyOZ on (September 22, 2011, 2:34 GMT)

I simply cannot believe people are seriously considering Bolliner - 8 wickets against nations ranked above us (including SA). The guy is a farce and not a trier at all. Although I don't like Siddle he is way better than Bollinger. All this talk about Mitch, based on his last perfromance in SA he at least deserves the tour match and/or first test, then reassess. What Clarke should be talking about is Haddin, how on Earth is he in the team? Is it only because Paine broke his thumb? If Paine is fit it is a no brainer he comes straight into the SA squad for Haddin. The Marsh/Hughes/Khawaja debate is also raging. I personally think we cannot keep Khawaja out of the side, but where does he slot in!? I am still not convinced at all on Marsh based on his FC record - as I said of Clarke hundreds on roads dont count. Clarke and Marsh need to stand up in SA. Watto's gone sour, i'd love to see Hughes and Khawaja opening!

Posted by whitesXI on (September 22, 2011, 2:25 GMT)

The problem aus bowling attack is that there is no clear strike bowler that the rest of the team builds off. Johnson was meant to be that man in this era but just hasn't delivered. Right now aus has capable bowlers who can all take 1 or 2 wickets in an inning but not a bloke who can take 3 or 4 consistently. Harris is firming up to be that man but his injury prone career is worrying. While I'm on the subject - while copeland has had a great debut, what is the point of having both him and watson in the same bowling attack? I'd genuinely want some opinions on this topic.

Posted by straight_drive4 on (September 22, 2011, 2:17 GMT)

@okakaboka - youre the type of person that would have probably dropped don bradman for jason arnberger just because hes a victorian

Posted by beejaytee on (September 22, 2011, 1:52 GMT)

Any other nation in the wirld would pick Mitch for every test. Variation counts for a lot against quality batsmen. Having Mitch flinging things everywhere, from his weird angle, at his pace, helps the other, steadier bowlers get wickets. He's also a genuine all-rounder, unlike Sid or Bolly. And what about his match-winner status? Has everyone forgotten the Perth Ashes Test ? So he only wins 1 in 10 tests single-handedly? Oh no! Better drop him!

Posted by Looch on (September 22, 2011, 1:23 GMT)

In Johnson's last 10 test matches, he has taken 32 wickets for 1345 runs at an average of 42.03. That is not what you want from a strike bowler and the team cannot afford to have such an inconsistent bowler in thier line up.

Posted by thebarmyarmy on (September 22, 2011, 1:22 GMT)

He sure is average these days but have Australia got anyone better?

Posted by Meety on (September 22, 2011, 0:26 GMT)

@Dashgar - agree re: Starc. He bowled brilliantly in one ODI then has been injured. He is SLOWLY recovering, in the A games in Zimbabwe, he only took wickets against the Zimmers, the Saffas played him well, I think he also struggled for wickets against the Emerging Indians. Don't get me wrong, he's a massive talent, but needs to do the hard yards in the Shield & maybe play some T20 or ODis for Oz over the nest year or two. == == == As for MJ, I'm happy enough for him to line up in the 1st Test against the Saffas. In the past, a lot of experts have said MJ needs to do a lot of bowling, he has bowled more balls in International cricket in the last 3 years then any fast bowler, (Harbhajan the most & look how he is going!). I think he is overworked & should be dropped from T20s & strategically used in ODIs. Given he's opted out of the Big Bash, I think he'd gladly cut back on short form cricket. Oz have plenty of young pace bowlers to give a go to in Short Forms!

Posted by straight_drive4 on (September 22, 2011, 0:24 GMT)

@okakaboka - bryce mcgain did quite well last time he went to South Africa lol do you think we should recall him??? hahahahahaha. typical one eyed victorian supporter

Posted by Square_Leg2012 on (September 22, 2011, 0:21 GMT)

Joker-Kaboka....Why stop at McDonald and Siddle?? Bring in Bryce McGain too. He went well last time he played in South Africa didn't he?? Give it a rest buddy seriously......

Posted by mistertee on (September 22, 2011, 0:17 GMT)

@david47 , In complete agreence with everything you state . We get rid of one problem with the Selection Committee , and up pops Michael Clarke being another "blind" selector. If he wants to be successful as a Captain whom has a selection choice , then show how hard you are going to push to get your best team on the paddock . Whilst I am on here , I must say that if Ricky Ponting is set on going to England for the 2013 Test Series , it certainly will NOT be as a player . Amen .

Posted by Wozza-CY on (September 21, 2011, 23:55 GMT)

If I was involved in Australian cricket & had an article written about me saying 'everything's okay' I'd start to get abit worried (refer C.White, Hilditch & Nielsen). So this says to me that Mitch is on warning. It makes sense that the squad be re-assessed after the SA tour. Two series close together & very different conditions give CA the perfect platform to view the future. I still feel there will be many changes over the coming 12mths with Mitch & Haddin first in the crosshairs.

Posted by AidanFX on (September 21, 2011, 23:36 GMT)

@ AKS286 - Beer is not the future for Aus, more likely Lyon is. Both players really came into domestic cricket out of left field obscurity so they are both inexperienced at first class/Test level. The thing is Beer is older, Lyon is younger, there is so much more upside to Lyon. He may have got his wickets on a spinners paradise and struggled to gain wickets afterward, well so? The guy isn't going to be a genuine star overnight but even in the games he didn't trouble the batsman too much as wickets are concerned there was enough there for mine and hopefully selectors to think they should stick with him. The guy has a lot of upside, will improve with experience and when he puts on some kilos and builds his cardio tank.... On the other hand I wish the selectors would also keep a hard eye on young Smith I genuinely believe his leggies so real promise, Clarke initially used him well in One Dayers/ 20/20's and then started snubbing him like Ponting.

Posted by molly07 on (September 21, 2011, 23:09 GMT)

Johnson NEEDS to go!!!! We need to stop remembering his very rare excellent performance and assess him as a whole. He sulks when he is not going well and his batting has become arrogant and sloppy like his bowling. He averages over 30, it would be a different story if he averaged 26 or under and just going through a lean patch. If he doesn't get dropped there is something wrong with selection. Being the face of cricket doesn't guarentee you a game surely!! Posters can be changed!!

Posted by David47 on (September 21, 2011, 22:43 GMT)

He's never lost his mojo - same as he's never gained a consistent upright seam, good line, good length and swing. Seriously Clarkey, never mind this mojo and playing favorites rubbish. If he's had an unlucky series then he's been unlucky for at least 95% of his career - is that what your saying Clarkey?? No, it's not luck, or lack of it. Either this guy has done absolutely nothing to correct his obvious problems over the last few years, or he's tried and failed. Either way, he has to be given a "rest" in the Shield. Strike bowler - do me a favour. Pattinson, George, Starc, Butterworth, Cutting, Cummins, Bollinger...................

Posted by MinusZero on (September 21, 2011, 21:06 GMT)

Clarke is already showing he will pick favourites and friends like Ponting did. Nothing has changed. Stats dont lie, Johnson doesnt deserve selection because he occasionally bowls well. Australia need someone consistent.

Posted by HorseH on (September 21, 2011, 16:40 GMT)

The only time Johnson has ever got wickets in Tests is when he is swinging the ball back in the right-hander. If he justs has a straight angle across and then maybe a bit of reverse-swing to exagerate that angle, he will never get Test batsmen out. Sure, they might play and miss at the odd wide one, but if you rely on that tactic to get wickets you are going to be 'unlucky' for a long time. His big problem is that batsmen now realise that you just don't have to play at those balls outside off. Eventuially Johnson will be forced to bowl at the stumps, and when he does he pitches outside leg stump, so the batsmen then have a free swing at it to play it onto the legside. If he's bowling inswing, all that changes. He can pitch in-line and still hit the stumps. If the coaches can't find a way to get that inswing working consistently, then he's always going to have far more bad days than good, and in the long run, not be a Test bowler.

Posted by AKS286 on (September 21, 2011, 16:22 GMT)

one series low performance on the lankan pitch blaming a world class bowler is a very foolish activity. if Oz continues there hire n fire scheme & disrespecting senior players then Oz will definately become NZ, PAK, WI. i think instead of LYOn BEER must be condidered BEER is the future of spin attack for Oz. ADAM VOGES must be in the test team and bat with HUSSEY. also select PHIL JAQUES instead of HUGHES. GO for JOHNSON, SIDDLE, MCKAY & BEER as a permanent member for ODI and TEST.

Posted by   on (September 21, 2011, 14:41 GMT)

Mitchel'ls problem is that he bowls to the left, then he bowls to the right...

Posted by AidanFX on (September 21, 2011, 14:18 GMT)

Clarke will be conservative with selection but I like the idea of changing things subtlety. I reckon give Pattinson a go in SA. I am vaguely aware there are other young bowlers who we should be looking at as well. Harris stays in the side (when not injured). Bollinger; never - a trier but lacks class, too slow for a guy who isn't exceptionally accurate (like Copeland) or doesn't move the ball much either. Siddle is a 3rd bowler for mine. Johnson is frustrating me because his uniqueness, bowling very quick left armers with awkward style makes him good for the balance of the team, but he is not performing enough - and his batting ability has stalled. He may have to go but reluctant to say so. I like Copeland's accuracy, and the ties an end down, but his lack of body mass for a 25 yr old isn't good. His pace won't trouble quality batsman. He needs to add weight. Lyon also has small body but that's understandable as he is younger, just a spinner, less experienced - stick with him!

Posted by Okakaboka on (September 21, 2011, 13:38 GMT)

Okay...come on! Look at the crap that comes out of Johnston's hands. He is a terrible bowler......He has been living on past feats for years. His last consistent bowling effort was in South Africa. To rate him above Siddle is a joke...HOWEVER...Siddle is not a number 1 or 2 bowler....He is a very good number 3 and that is the way he should be viewed. We need a bowler like Copeland.....He is good...BUT....McDonald can bowl at that pace just as well and he has the bonus of being an excellent batsman...superior to Johnston....even Siddle is more consistent with the bat than Johnston. The suggestions of Starc...well...he is a pop gun compared to Pattinson. Pattinson IS the future. Speaking of the future...surely time is up for old Terra Cotta gloves Haddin. Siddle and Harris would both have more test wickets but for old fumble fingers! Wade or Paine MUST play if we are to beat South Africa.

Posted by Clive_Dunn on (September 21, 2011, 13:24 GMT)

It is simply unthinkable for the Aussies to drop MJ, who will the England fans have to taunt at the next Ashes ?

Posted by bigwonder on (September 21, 2011, 13:05 GMT)

Mojo or no Mojo, Johnson should have a chat with Austin Powers to ensure Johnson can recover his mojo - if he ever looses it. ;)

Posted by Waseef on (September 21, 2011, 13:04 GMT)

I agree with Clarke about Mitch. The latter can be devastating and is very lethal when he's at his best. He was simply awesome in the 2009 series in SA; his 8-61 against a strong Proteas line-up was amazing! He did not do that well in SL, but I don't think that one bad series can be a reason to drop him as he's proved in the past just how good he really is. They dropped him after the Brisbane test in the Ashes after he struggled in that match and had to call him back for the Perth test and he performed exceptionally well in the 3rd test at Perth. I believe that the Aussies should stick with him for now and definitely play him against SA.

Posted by   on (September 21, 2011, 12:59 GMT)

Mitchell Johnson is like Ian Baker Finch. Had it, lost it! Give the young ones a go and cut this wild and erratic person lose. He needs to harden up. Siddle is mediocre at best. I think if Copeland can add a yard or two in speed, he will be very good. All we need now is to build around Harris and Watson.

Posted by landl47 on (September 21, 2011, 12:50 GMT)

How long do you keep someone in the team because once in a while everything goes right? If you have enough real matchwinners, I suppose you can carry someone like that. Australia has Harris (great bowler but has finished both his last 2 series injured and missed Pakistan and India completely), but after that's there's Siddle, Copeland, Bollinger, Hilfenhaus, who are all just journeymen, and a bunch of young kids. Johnson in his last 11 tests has 32 wickets @37. That includes one matchwinning performance (Perth) where he took 9, 3 other games in which he took 3 or more wickets, all of which Australia lost, and 7 games in which he took 2 or less wickets. So you'd be keeping him for the one game in 11 which he wins for you. How many series does Australia win on that basis? Maybe he keeps his place for SA, because it's a bit late to bring in anyone else, but surely the future for Aus lies elsewhere.

Posted by bumsonseats on (September 21, 2011, 12:49 GMT)

as to any team in the world would want him. ur having a laugh. maybe india as they need bowlers. on 2nd thoughts maybe not. dk

Posted by bumsonseats on (September 21, 2011, 12:44 GMT)

on his day he can be as good as any in world cricket. its just these days are becoming longer and longer betwen them. similar to his batting. he has no inner strength and can be put of his game to easy. when he snarls at opponants they just laugh at him. then he sends the bowl 3 foot down the leg side. siddle may be average but similar to merv hughes hes a tryer and will always give of his best even though a front line bowler he is not. but they have not much choice as the cupboard is bare. the spinners role is up in the air as lyon after a not bad start just looked a trundler, hauritz is far and away the best spinner in oz still . but the batting looks ok. iv always thought marsh would do well, but not many guys in past topics seemed to do so . till after his run in last 2 tests.dpk

Posted by Dashgar on (September 21, 2011, 12:08 GMT)

Whats with all this love for Mitchell Starc? What has he ever done. There are so many good pace bowlers out there but people seem to prefer to look in the NSW second XI than at the top quality young players who dominated the Shield last summer. Bring in Butterworth, Duffield, Coulter-Nile or Faulkner for Johnson.

Posted by Samdanh on (September 21, 2011, 11:29 GMT)

Aus did exceedingly well to score 480+ on 4th & 5th days wicket that was helping Herath right through the Aus second innings. Overall, Aus dominated this series and having done in conditions quite alien to them, was splendid. However, for them to continue doing well they will have to make some changes. My suggestions are bring in Mitchell Starc in place of Johnson. I see Starc as a left handed Mcgrath. Make Marsh open the innings with Phil Hughes and take Shane Watson to no.6. His ability to counter attack or score quickly as per situation will help in that position. He has been struggling in the opening slot and that is not good for Aus against good teams. Bring in Paine at 7 for Tests and utilise Haddin in ODIs and T20s. Mitchell Starc, Ryan Harris/Siddle, Copeland, Lyon, should form the bowling attack. Johnson should be made to go through at least one season of Sheffield Shield and demonstrate consistency in line, and penetration, before being considered again as back up

Posted by Gilliana on (September 21, 2011, 11:16 GMT)

I don't think Johnson has lost his mojo. One cannot expect a fast bowler to be at his peak at all times. He is still Australia best fastie. But I agree with Ratul Sen here. Starke will be a good standby for Mitch. I saw this kid bowl last season and he regularly hit the 145/150 mark. I don't really care for Bollinger. He expects a wicket at every over and when the impossible does not happen he gets abusive and frustrated which makes him worse. Copeland does not impress me either. So there is Johnson, Ryan Harris, Siddle and Starke. Copeland, yes in case someone breaks down.

Posted by jonesy2 on (September 21, 2011, 11:01 GMT)

why would clarke even bother to say this anyway. mitch is a superstar match winner. every other country would kill to have him in any of their teams.

Posted by Mervo on (September 21, 2011, 10:58 GMT)

Johnson has 184 test wickets, more than double those of Siddle and at a better average. he also has two test centuries. Enough said.

Posted by Mervo on (September 21, 2011, 10:55 GMT)

Michael Stuck? Who is he? There is a Mitchell Starc in NSW ... No JOhnson is a brilliant cricketer on his days and was the reason why Australia won the last series in SA. Bowling and batting. He deserves it. They are an experienced side and we need to match that.

Posted by Dismayed on (September 21, 2011, 10:45 GMT)

Give me Johnson over Siddle any day of the week. In fact give me just about any other quick in Australia over Siddle anytime anywhere. Harris comes back in when fit.Copeland is the perfect foil to bowl Johnson in short sharp spells and will get more bounce in SA.Get rid of Ponting and Clarke drop Watson to 4 and play Khawaja, S.Smith and or S.Okeefe and we are looking good for the next decade.With Stark,Cummins,S.Abbott and several other young guys lining up to replace Harris and Johnson over the next 3 to 5 years.

Posted by azzaman333 on (September 21, 2011, 10:41 GMT)

If Johnson doesn't perform in a tour match, he should not be in the squad for the first test, end of story. Harris, Siddle and Copeland are able to build and sustain pressure, Johnson gives a boundary ball every over. Simply can't have that in test cricket.

Posted by   on (September 21, 2011, 10:34 GMT)

Actually one of the reasons for Australia"s success on this tour is the fact that their line and length was extremely good and Sri Lanka had a tough time in getting the Australian bowlers away with perhaps Mitchell Johnson being the only wayward bowler of the lot. I think the Australian bowling attack is functional and workmanlike and if South Africa are not careful, they might be surprised. Mitchell Johnson has been an unreliable performer and lots of pressure that was put on him has made him a lot more vulnerable to media and opposition batsmen. I personally feel Bollinger might be a safer bet as he is a left hander and will provide variety to the bowing of Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle. I am not fully convinced about Copeland though he does seem capable of bowling long, tidy spells. This Australian team is not going to be good in a hurry but it can surprise teams as Sri Lanka just found out. I thought Clarke led much better than Ponting has ever done. Sridhar

Posted by HatsforBats on (September 21, 2011, 10:29 GMT)

@Patchmaster: Are you serious?! The mighty "English" batting line up "destroyed" Mitch? Mate, if his socks don't match his confidence is shot.

Posted by Nerk on (September 21, 2011, 10:17 GMT)

Clarke is quite right, Johnson is a matchwinner on his day. Just that his 'days' are usually twelve months apart. Get him into Shield, tell him to sort out his line and length and bring him back when he is performing more consistantly. There are other bowlers in Australia doing as good a job as Johnson, and they deserve a chance.

Posted by   on (September 21, 2011, 10:13 GMT)

@Aspraso.. The one thing favouring Shane Watson at the present moment is that he is chipping in with useful wickets. As for his batting, it is a big disappointment that he is incapable of converting good starts into big scores. The team management needs to remind him that they expect better things from him than scores like 20s,30s and 40s. Mitch also needs to concentrate better while batting, as he is undoubtedly useful down the order.

Posted by straight_drive4 on (September 21, 2011, 10:08 GMT)

Johnson is lucky that he is still in the side as they brought Watson in to cover his butt. In saying that, I think (based on past experiences in south Africa and at the waca) that he would be worth a go for at least one test to see if he can regain his form. If they were going to drop him before Sri Lanka then i would have been fine with that, but now that they have kept him until SA, these are the conditions that he is most likely to succeed! So I think they have come this far, it worth giving him a go at the first test JUST IN CASE he can reproduce his "mojo". If it were anywhere else I would say drop him but specifically because these are his conditions I reckon he's worth the gamble just one new time. Last chance.

Posted by   on (September 21, 2011, 10:05 GMT)

Mitch has a lot to offer to Australian cricket and I hope the Australian selectors will not ditch him the way they treated Stuart Clark.

Posted by   on (September 21, 2011, 9:47 GMT)

Mitchell Johnson is a stand out performer. One poor tour will not make him a bad player. He will come back and he will come back with a big bang in the next series. I wish him all Success!!!

Posted by Patchmaster on (September 21, 2011, 9:42 GMT)

He's never been the same since ENG destroyed him in the last Ashes series. It seemed to break his confidence. ENG do have a world class test match batting line up though.

Posted by Aspraso on (September 21, 2011, 9:35 GMT)

@krishnaselvi natarajan -- yes yes Johnson was unlucky for being the only bowler to have catches cropped -- it is actually Watson who has lost his mojo!!

Posted by Aspraso on (September 21, 2011, 9:28 GMT)

Yes Johnson hasn't lost his mojo -- he did take 6 wickets at an average of 52+ I reckon that the next test team that Aussies are going to play, will also relish Johnson's continued mojo.

Posted by daager on (September 21, 2011, 9:27 GMT)

As a SA supporter our team would be stoked if he didnt get picked, altho I'd like to see him play. We gave Aus a beating on their turf, and if it wasnt for Mitch we would have done the same at home. He bowled one of the the most hostile spells I have ever seen, when he struck Kallis - and its not many who can bully Kallis out of his wicket. Played some cracking innings as well. He seems a but fragile mentally but when hes in the zone hes a machine.

Posted by Buggsy on (September 21, 2011, 9:26 GMT)

It's pretty hard to lose your mojo when you never had it to begin with. Fact is Johnson is useless and has been a burden on the team for years now. Australia will never move forward with him in the side.

Posted by   on (September 21, 2011, 9:23 GMT)

I am 100% agree with aus_sore_losers , these guys think them self a super start before any big achievement just playing 2,3 good series. Here i'll blame bit of media hype too. they feel like super start in early ages of their careers.

Posted by WilliamFranklin on (September 21, 2011, 9:22 GMT)

Surely it's his 'performances' in the past couple of years that are the problem. He came to england in 2009 vaunted as the worlds best and won England the Lords test almost single handed. In his home county last winter he was, bar one test, an embarrassment.

Posted by REH223 on (September 21, 2011, 9:12 GMT)

DEAR MITCH , Stop wasting time with McDermott and take some useful tips from WASIM AKRAM.

@Roshan Singh : Oh REALLY! I thought RP singh was the best left armer!!!

Posted by   on (September 21, 2011, 8:53 GMT)

now it's time to replace Johnson with Bollinger or Mitchel Stuck

Posted by Ben1989 on (September 21, 2011, 8:52 GMT)

exactly right Clarke, match winner with the ball & bat WHEN he's at his best, give him a go in the A game (is there one?) to see if he can find the dangerous swing he can produce, if not, slot in Siddle or I personally think maybe Bolly to keep that variety of left arm angle across the right handers going, either way it is good to finally see it's been acknowledged if he doesn't do something, he's gone...

Posted by HLANGL on (September 21, 2011, 8:51 GMT)

Mitchell Johnson looks to be a matchwinner on his day, true, yet he can equally be so wayward & all over the place on another day which is unfortunately not so infrequent as you would have liked from a premier fast bowler at the international stage. So he still remains to be pretty much the same wildcard character he was 2-3 years back, who can either win or loose a match in a single spell of bowling. Dough Bollinger would have been a far better option if you want more reliability. He has the pace, can easily bowl at 145+kmph on a consistent basis if required, & is definitely a lot more tighter when it comes to the line & length.

Posted by HLANGL on (September 21, 2011, 8:50 GMT)

Mitchell Johnson looks to be a matchwinner on his day, true, yet he can equally be so wayward & all over the place on another day which is unfortunately not so infrequent as you would have liked from a premier fast bowler at the international stage. So he still remains to be pretty much the same wildcard character he was 2-3 years back, who can either win or loose a match in a single spell of bowling. Dough Bollinger would have been a far better option if you want more reliability. He has the pace, can easily bowl at 145+kmph on a consistent basis if required, & is definitely a lot more tighter when it comes to the line & length.

Posted by bommber on (September 21, 2011, 8:40 GMT)

pick the best 4 bowlers why pick a spinner if he not up to standard if johnson in the top 4 pick him.if the conditions suit even more so.west indies in there heyday didnt need a spinner just 4 fast bowlers

Posted by   on (September 21, 2011, 8:30 GMT)

you cant judge a bowler with his performance on BONE DRY DEAD subcontinental pitches , i am sure he will get into rhythm once he gets to South Africa

Posted by Matt. on (September 21, 2011, 8:28 GMT)

"I still think he's as good a strike weapon as there is in international cricket. I think he's a match-winner with bat and with ball, when he's at his best."

Wow michael clarke, how did you keep a straight face when you said that?!

Posted by prosanto on (September 21, 2011, 8:27 GMT)

johonson will be the highest wicket taker in SA series for AUS

Posted by Dashgar on (September 21, 2011, 8:24 GMT)

Keeping Johnson over Siddle would be the old Australia. Hopefully they remember the Argus report and do the right thing. Johnson has to be dropped.

Posted by hris on (September 21, 2011, 8:22 GMT)

'Johnson has lost his mojo'. there, i corrected it for you pup.

Posted by aus_sore_losers on (September 21, 2011, 8:20 GMT)

he's only area of concentration is tattoos, physiq, looks ect... wish he had concentrated more on fitness and bowling...these youngsters are spoilt brats, they need to learn something from steve waugh, SRT, Lara, gilly etc..

Posted by   on (September 21, 2011, 8:19 GMT)

Mitch is the best left armer today.......and as good as any bowling all rounder there is

Posted by   on (September 21, 2011, 8:09 GMT)

Clarke is right . Johnson was unlucky as watson dropped catch off his bowling.

Posted by bucks032 on (September 21, 2011, 8:08 GMT)

only thing that will keep johnson in the side is his previous series in sa. wouldnt suprise me if he didnt swing it in the first test that he would be on the outer again

Posted by gauravdixit2011 on (September 21, 2011, 8:04 GMT)

gud he is always a best bowler from past 7-8 yrs in Australian team...

Posted by gauravdixit2011 on (September 21, 2011, 8:04 GMT)

gud he is always a best bowler from past 7-8 yrs in Australian team...

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