Michael Clarke: Dropping Mitchell Johnson would be a mistake

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Michael Phelps

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  • Michael Clarke: Dropping Mitchell Johnson would be a mistake

Michael Clarke: Dropping Mitchell Johnson would be a mistake

Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke has said dropping Mitchell Johnson for the second Ashes Test match against England would be a huge mistake.

Johnson didn't take a single wicket during the first Ashes Test and didn't score a single run, which marked the worst Test match of his career to date. There are many calls coming from the Australian media and public for Johnson to be dropped for either Doug Bollinger or Ryan Harris.

However, Clarke has jumped to Johnson's defence and says dropping the seamer could be counter productive as he is one of the potentially explosive players in the Australian squad.

"The biggest issue appears to be the drastic drop in confidence of Mitchell Johnson. That is possibly due to the fact that he has only taken three wickets in his past four innings, or because he has not had great success against England and his woes have been well documented," Clarke said in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Clarke also says that criticism and problems with confidence are nothing new in Johnson's career. He has always been a little inconsistent but his statistics prove that he is an effective bowler at Test match level. Few other players have taken 166 wickets in just 39 Tests.

Clarke has also praised England for some degree in playing on Johnson's biggest weakness, which seems to be himself. Clarke has said that the English media and public were the first to jump on the pace bowler's back during the 2009 Ashes series and are doing so again.

"After Lords in 2009, he faced the same problem. He was given a touch-up by Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss and co. and the doubts began to creep in," Clarke added.

Australia's vice-captain argues that the only way for Johnson to get better for the rest of this Ashes series and the rest of his career is to take wickets. When a bowler is bowling well and looks dangerous, he doesn't have to think about where he is putting the ball as it seems to come out naturally.

Johnson is at his very best when he is running in and trying to do nothing more than bowling the ball at a very high speed.

"I can recall talking to him during a practice match at Northampton in 2009 where he was trying to regain some confidence, but the self-doubt was consuming him. Only wickets will banish the demons from within. I am not sure leaving Mitch out of the Adelaide Test is the best option at present, but I can guarantee you that a selector coming out and stating that he is on borrowed time will not help," said Clarke.

This is a fair point because Johnson is a more dangerous bowler than Bollinger or Harris. Bollinger lacks pace and is predictable on batting-friendly pitches. Harris does have the pace but he cannot move the ball through the air or off of the pitch as effectively as Johnson. either of these back up bowlers would also need time to find their rhythm in the middle of an intense series.

Betting advice

Johnson is never going to be the most accurate or consistent of bowlers. This means there are going to be performances like the one he produced in Brisbane. However, he has scored a Test match hundred and taken a total of six five-wicket hauls.

Johnson will produce a stunning display of fast bowling at some point, the only problem is knowing when. This could come at a vital time for Australia and it could win the side a Test match during the current series against England.

Tagged in: Ashes, Australia, cricket, England

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