Sydney: Australia captain Michael Clarke has claimed pace man Mitchell Johnson was unlucky to miss selection for the first Test against Sri Lanka in Hobart. Johnson rebutted criticism of his inclusion for the recent Perth Test against South Africa by being Australia`s best bowler, even though not the most rewarded in wickets.
Johnson`s fall from being a walk-up start for Australia was toughened by the selections for the series opener against Sri Lanka starting on Friday, with Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus being instead treated as the first-choice pace men. Fellow left-armer Mitchell Starc was also preferred to Johnson, the former mainstay of the pace attack. Clarke acknowledged the tough call on Johnson to drop him but said it was a nice problem to have. “Mitch would feel unlucky, there``s no doubt about it,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Clarke, as saying.
“I think ``Sidds`` [Siddle] and ``Hilf`` [Hilfenhaus deservedly] come back into the team, being two guys who`ve performed very well over the past 12 months for us … and ``Starky`` [Starc] has been in the queue for a long time, the past eight to 12 months, and we thought he bowled really well in the Test match in Perth, as did Mitchell Johnson,” he added. “You`ve got to do what`s best for the Australian team, you`ve got to pick the best 11 players to win a Test match.
For this Test match this is the 11 we`ve gone for,” he said. Clarke added: “Mitch will be fine. He`ll continue to work his backside off and wait for his next opportunity, and try and grab it with both hands once again.”