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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Johnson out, Strauss plays games and Hauritz knocks on the door

Not entirely unexpectedly, Mitchell Johnson has been dropped from the Australian squad for the Second Test. However English captain, Andrew Strauss responded by suggesting this was a 'big call' for the Australian selectors.

According to the ABC's website "Mitchell's been a very good performer for Australia over a number of years and has been spearheading their attack, so it's quite a big call for them to leave him out," Strauss said.

Well, let's be realistic here. Going on how erratic his form has been and how poorly Johnson performed in the First Test, naturally the Poms would be more than happy to see Johnson retained rather than replaced by the likes of Doug Bollinger. The last thing that they want to see is Johnson rested and getting his head back together, becoming the deadly missile that we know he can be. So Strauss is playing games here. The Australian selectors could not justify Johnson's inclusion when someone like Dougie is waiting in the wings. A fit and mentally with it Johnson is a deadly part of the attack but a Johnson who has lost his way is, unfortunately, hard to justify being included. Hopefully Johnson will take this setback in a positive way, sort out whatever his problems may be and get his rightful place back in the Australian attack once more.

Meanwhile, Nathan Hauritz has given a good, hard thump on the selectors' doors by a good performance against Western Australia at the WACA, not known for being especially spinner-friendly, taking five wickets for New South Wales. If the selectors were prepared to persist with Mike Hussey for so long during his dramatic form slump and for as long as they have with Johnson's problems, exactly why did Hauritz suddenly become the pariah? Yet it would hardly be fair to throw Doherty out already. Sure, Doherty did not take any wickets in the mammoth English second innings in the First Test, but then again, neither did any of the other main bowlers.

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