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Johnson out of World T20, Bollinger in

Daniel Brettig

March 16, 2014

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Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger at Australia's training session, Adelaide, December 1, 2010
Mitchell Johnson out, Doug Bollinger in © Getty Images
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News : Johnson suffering infected toe
Players/Officials: Mitchell Johnson | Doug Bollinger
Series/Tournaments: World T20
Teams: Australia

Australia's spearhead Mitchell Johnson has been forced out of the World Twenty20 due to an infected toe, thrusting Doug Bollinger into the squad as the national selectors' next best left-arm option.

Johnson had initially been rested from the T20 matches that followed his major contribution to the 2-1 Test series win in South Africa. However the infection, derived from a cut to Johnson's right big toe that he carried through a marathon bowling stint on the final day of the series at Newlands, has been slow to heal.

Though currently being treated with antibiotics, Johnson was ruled out of the event on Sunday, with Bollinger now preparing to journey to Bangladesh rather than playing for New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield final against Western Australia in Canberra.

"Mitchell had a cut on his right big toe after the 3rd Test against South Africa which became infected when he returned home to Australia after the series," Cricket Australia's chief medical officer, Dr Justin Paoloni said. "We have given Mitchell as long as we can but unfortunately his infection hasn't responded to the treatment as quickly as we had hoped with swelling remaining in his toe and foot.

"It is difficult to say how quickly the infection will take to resolve and due to the high risk of infection recurrence with a return to bowling we feel it is in the best interests of Mitchell's health for him to continue to receive intensive treatment in Perth."

Johnson's absence is an enormous blow to Australia's chances to end a hugely successful summer with their first World T20 trophy, given his supreme performances in Tests against England and South Africa. It is also a significant reverse for the tournament itself, as Johnson is arguably cricket's most watchable performer at present, adding pace, excitement and danger to every match he takes part in.

Bollinger has not played for Australia since October 2011, but he was part of the Test squad during the latter part of the home Ashes series, when the selectors elected to carry an unchanged XI through all five Tests. Had Johnson fallen prey to injury during the Ashes, Bollinger would have come in as a like-for-like impact bowler.

"This is disappointing news as it was anticipated that Mitch would have a significant impact with his pace and menace," the national selector John Inverarity said of Johnson's convalescence. "Doug Bollinger has been called into the squad to replace Mitchell. Doug has had significant experience in the sub-continent and in international white ball cricket and his ability to bowl with good pace was a factor in his selection."

As was the case with Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh being granted their places in the Test batting order, the selectors have chosen Bollinger according to long-held views about who is the best man to replace Johnson rather than taking too close a look at relevant domestic figures. Bollinger's Big Bash League display this summer was modest, reaping six wickets at 44.66 for the Hobart Hurricanes.

While the Blues have lost Bollinger, they are also likely to gain a pair of useful reinforcements, as both the Australian Test captain Michael Clarke and the allrounder Moises Henriques are firming to be available for the Shield final, which begins on Friday at Manuka Oval.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (March 19, 2014, 14:00 GMT)

Well. no prob at all. he will prove

Posted by bren19 on (March 18, 2014, 22:04 GMT)

Really? Dougie? Unimaginative selectors at work again. There are so many T20 bowlers out there who are far more proficient at the game than Doug. Jackson Bird for example - Ben Cutting, John Hastings.

Posted by Jagger on (March 17, 2014, 12:26 GMT)

Rowan Tyson on (March 17, 2014, 2:43 GMT) Does anyone know about any drama or personality conflicts he has? - Are you a woman? Sounds like something a woman would say. Who cares! The question you should be asking is why isn't he playing? No one knows. "If I have got someone offside, I'm more than happy to work hard to improve. But as it stands I haven't heard a thing," he said. S. MacGill: "The guy can bowl ... I don't understand why he hasn't got the opportunity he deserves."

Posted by Meety on (March 17, 2014, 11:02 GMT)

@Chris_P on (March 16, 2014, 19:33 GMT) - Starc is a white ball gun & if he opened the bowling in the 2015 W/C with Ryan Harris (check his career S/R) - it would be shut the gate. (I actually think Harris is a better white ball bowler than Red beleive it or not- albeit close). As for in Bangladesh - a lot of people writing Oz off, havent factored the batsmen are not current Test batsmen so shouldnt be tarred with the same brush as the guys who got beat in India last year. Brad Hosge played in the BPL in Bangladesh I think 2 yrs running - & was just about the lead batsmen in one of those yrs. So a middle order of White, Hodge, Bailey & Haddin are amongst our better players of spin! (Maxwell will probably play ahead of White). @R Tyson - only the selectors know why he doesnt get selected - that said he is better performed in FC cricket - HOWEVER his T20i stats are superior to Doherty & he got a long run in the Oz side & cant bat unlike SO'K!

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 17, 2014, 7:34 GMT)

Doug is a serviceable performer and will try his guts out, as is the Aussie way.

Good news that MJ is not playing in this waste-of-time tournament. He doe snto risk injury and the time off from playing the hit and giggle game will give him more preparation time and make him fresher for playing the big boys game of test cricket.

Posted by bobagorof on (March 17, 2014, 5:24 GMT)

@popcorn: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/392619.html . Also, http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/416241.html . So there's two. Oops, and a third: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/446963.html . Three different years, three different opposition. But I agree that Behrendorff may have been a better choice - plus he doesn't play for NSW, so that will make the theorists happy (unless you also consider that picking Behrendorff would weaken WA's attack for the Shield final against... NSW)

Posted by ramz30380 on (March 17, 2014, 3:32 GMT)

@ Jose Puliampatta LOL! Well, I was referring to the wickets mate!!! Abt potholes and bumpy rides, well thats discussion for another forum not here in cricinfo!!!

My reference was to the scores that the Aussies were able to post during the ODI series in India - BD does not offer the same adv to them - the couple of qualifiying matches was proof enough for that and so did the Asia Cup!

If Aussies manage to handle the spin friendly conditions (not to mention how wanting they were during the 4-0 white wash against Ind during the test series), they can pack a punch in WCT20!

Posted by cheguramana on (March 17, 2014, 3:30 GMT)

Doug is a decent pacer no doubt. Has the experience T20 in India thru IPL. But what abt Derek Nannes ? Probably better credentials ?

Posted by JAH123 on (March 17, 2014, 3:22 GMT)

I don't know why anyone is worried about who replaces Johnson, since he will only be a backup bowler for the tournament anyway. It will probably be Doug Bollinger's last international tournament and he has been a good servant to Aus cricket for many years, so I have no problem with him going. Plus he will have some experience to impart to our talented young quicks.

Posted by   on (March 17, 2014, 2:43 GMT)

After the completion of the first two games and the massive influence of spin I'm happy that Hogg is in the side, and also Maxwell could be a star with the ball this tournament, however I have the feeling a left arm spinner like okeefe would've been very good to complement Hogg, I'm sure muirhead is a gun, but well have to wait and see how he performs in Bangladesh! Looking at okeefes figures and his last couple of games, he took a 10for and when Lyon comes back he gets pushed right back to second spinner and hardly gets a bowl, he's not inline for international test, and he looked good in big bash, oh and he averages near 30 in all formats. Does anyone know about any drama or personality conflicts he has?

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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