Chappells split on key quick Johnson

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

ADELAIDE - Left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson has lost the faith of one Chappell brother, but the one who will determine his Test fate still regards him as a key to Australia’s hopes of regaining the Ashes.

National selector Greg Chappell said last night he was not worried by Johnson’s performance in the first Test, but refused to guarantee him a berth for the second Test, which starts in Adelaide on Friday.

“Worried is not a word I would use. We obviously recognise he’s not in the peak of form at the moment, so we’re keen to see him back to that as soon as possible. Players go through ups and downs in various stages of their careers … He’s still one of our key bowlers,” The Age quoted Greg, as saying.

His elder brother Ian, however, said there was no way Australia could afford to take Johnson to Adelaide with his confidence at such low levels.

He told the Cricinfo web site: “Really, you could just see his confidence ebbing away to the point where there were some wides and horrible deliveries [in Brisbane], and he just looked like a guy bowling without confidence.”

He added: ” So I’m not sure you can take him into Adelaide … that’s one change they’ve got to make.”

Australia coach Tim Nielsen said team management was working on ensuring Johnson was as relaxed as possible so he could rediscover his best.

“There’s a couple of little things we can work on with Mitch, to make sure we jump around the bowling group and each other, and ensure we’re as well prepared as we can be, then walk out on Friday morning and have another crack. We’ve got to make sure Mitch is relaxed and thinking clearly about what works for him,” Nielsen said.

Selectors could wait until as late as the morning of the match before they finalize the team.

“We were always going to look at playing horses for courses to get the best combinations for each wicket. For that reason primarily, also conscious of the fact we can’t expect to take the same bowlers through five matches in seven weeks,” Greg Chappel said.

Western Australia coach Mickey Arthur believes Johnson will return to his match-winning ways if spared the axe.

“To leave him out would certainly be premature, in my opinion, because he’s the one potential match-winner Australia have. For him to get that criticism right now is pretty harsh,” Arthur said. (ANI)

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