Border Backs Johnson for Ashes

Former test captain Border has urged the selectors to gamble on Johnson for the series opener, saying that the time had come for an infusion of youth to the Australian Test team.

“He would be in my 12, definitely”, Border said. “We are starting to get to a point where we need to take a bit of a gamble with some young guys…. He can bowl 140-plus, he swings it as a left-armer. When you’ve got that core group of bowling you can rely on – Warne, McGrath, Lee – is there any harm in throwing that young tyro in there?”

One of Johnson’s chief rivals for a Test berth, Stuart Clark, will make his return from a hamstring injury in a domestic one-day match against Queensland at the ‘Gabba today.

Current selector Merv Hughes, whilst agreeing that Johnson has been impressive, indicated that the drier-than-usual conditions in Brisbane and Perth may lead to Australia playing two spinners at the normally pace-friendly venues.

If the selectors choose two spinners, Stuart McGill would be the obvious partner for Shane Warne. McGill is currently serving a two-match ban for swearing at an umpire in a club match last weekend. The suspension will keep McGill out of both New South Wales’ one-day match against Queensland today and the upcoming Pura Cup clash between the two sides.

McGill will return to cricket on November 2.

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