MELBOURNE, (Reuters) – Australia have dumped Mitchell Johnson from their Twenty20 side for their upcoming South Africa tour after the paceman endured a poor tour in Sri Lanka.
The 29-year-old Queenslander was expensive in Australia’s 2-0 series loss to the Sri Lankans and his struggles continued in the one-day and test series wins that followed.
“Mitchell has struggled in this format of the game to date,” Andrew Hilditch, the outgoing chairman of selectors said in a statement yesterday.
“Most Twenty20 internationals have been at the start of tours and Mitchell has not always been at his best in these matches.
“Obviously Mitchell has a great skill set for Twenty20 cricket and we are sure he will put a lot of pressure on us to pick him in the future in the Twenty20 team.”
Johnson’s omission means a recall for Doug Bollinger, who will join Brett Lee, James Pattinson and teenager Pat Cummins in the 14-man squad’s pace quartet for the two T20 matches in South Africa next month.
Cummins, an 18-year-old and the youngest ever Australian player to be handed a central contract, had also forced his way into the one-day side after John Hastings was ruled out by injury.
Brad Haddin’s retirement from Twenty20 last week and an injury to stand-in Tim Paine paved the way for a promotion for Victoria state wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade in the Cameron White-captained T20 squad.
Mitchell Marsh, a 19-year-old all-rounder, had also been included after a solid tour for Australia A in Zimbabwe, Hilditch said.
Johnson has retained his place in the Michael Clarke-led one-day squad which will play a three-match series after the T20 matches, meaning he will likely be in the frame for the following two-match test series despite his form slump.
The swing bowler took 16 wickets at an average of 25 in the Australians’ 2-1 victory over hosts South Africa in the 2009 test series and interim coach Troy Cooley said getting the erratic bowler back into the groove was a top priority.
“I will be picking up quite quickly with (bowling coach) Craig McDermott and (test captain) Michael Clarke on what transpired over there (in Sri Lanka)… and make sure Mitchell Johnson is up and running,” he said on Tuesday.
Twenty20 squad: Cameron White (captain), Shane Watson, Doug Bollinger, Patrick Cummins, Aaron Finch, David Hussey, Brett Lee, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Stephen O’Keefe, James Pattinson, Steven Smith, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
One-day squad: Michael Clarke (captain), Shane Watson, Doug Bollinger, Patrick Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Brad Haddin, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, James Pattinson, Ricky Ponting, Steven Smith, David Warner.