Any captain wants one of two things out of his pace spearhead, and ideally he’d like both.

Two things a captain couldn't care less about: tats and a dodgy Movember mo. Photo AFP

Firstly, he wants strike power in the mould of Jeff Thomson, whose famous sandshoe crusher broke both Tony Greig’s foot and England’s resolve in the corresponding match at the Gabba way back in 1974.

Secondly, he wants unerring accuracy. He wants to be able to throw the ball to his main man and say “hey if you can’t get rid of them, at least dry the runs up and build a bit of pressure”.

Mitchell Johnson currently is failing on both counts, and has been for a while.

Today, I thought I’d give Johnson his fair chance and watch every ball of his spell after the lunch break, then analyse it with something approaching an even hand.

Here’s what I saw: a bowler getting little or no swing or seam movement, whose pace never got near 140 km/h and who never came close to threatening the batsmen.

By the first ball of the fourth over, when Johnson slung down one of his customary legside shockers that went for four byes, I’d seen enough. By the end of the fifth over, Ricky Ponting had too. Hopefully the selectors will now feel the same.

This is not a gratuitous “sack someone” piece after England’s massive second innings recovery in Brisbane. Neither is it a case of discounting Johnson’s previous deeds in the Baggy Green. The simple fact is, Johnson’s recent numbers do not even come close to adding up.

In nine Tests in 2010, Johnson’s bowling average is an unacceptable 40 (that’s 40 runs conceded for each wicket taken). In his six career outings against England, he’s averaging the same mark.

After his Ashes shocker in England in 2009, Johnson admitted he’d lost his nerve, especially at Lord’s. But he’d found the key again, or so he said before this series. The man named 2009 ICC cricketer of the Year was back. For real. Well, according to the man named 2009 ICC Cricketer of the Year, anyway.

Fact is, since mid 2009, Johnson hasn’t looked like the sort of cricketer who’d win a game of the ridiculously simplistic but addictive free online game stick cricket.

Since Johnson’s Test debut in 2007, we’ve heard Ad nauseam the story of Dennis Lillie, who saw Johnson at a junior academy and immediately labelled him a “once-in-a-lifetime talent”.

Maybe so. But Johnson, at 29, is now decidedly middle-aged, even in the geriatric ward known as the Australian cricket team. And in cricketing terms, he’s clearly having a midlife crisis.

There are all kinds of aspersions which might be cast over Johnson’s mental and/or emotional state, not least because of this super weird tug-of-war between Johnson’s Mum and his girlfriend in 2009.

But this isn’t about Mitchell Johnson’s head. This is about his body, which has been bowling rubbish since mid 2009, give or take a decent spell or two in this year’s midyear series against Pakistan.

Sport is littered with erratic geniuses, and they’re great to watch in the AFL or NRL, where they can get away with the odd shocker in a league where the public focus is spread across 500 or 1000 footballers.

But in a sport where the public only cares about one team, there is no room for weakness in the 11 spots up for grabs. Of those 11 spots, just three are reserved solely for pace bowlers. Given that equation, erratic performances are completely unacceptable. Especially when, as mentioned, the strike power just isn’t there as a counterweight.

There is one very good reason for keeping Johnson for the second Test in Adelaide, which is that in three visits to that venue, he has taken six, five and eight wickets respectively, at a combined average of 23.

But there’s an equally good reason to drop him, which is that virtually all Australian batsmen of our recent great dynasty – from the Waughs to Langer and Hayden and even Ponting – were dropped at one stage and returned as better cricketers after reaffirming their talent at state level. Why shouldn’t this theory apply to bowlers as well?

Who to replace him with at Adelaide? That’s one for the selectors, though you can’t help wishing local boy Shaun Tait hadn’t declared himself unavailable for longer forms of cricket. Batsmen around the world are genuinely scared of Tait. No one’s scared of Johnson at the moment.

No one, that is, except the person who washes Brad Haddin’s clothes after he’s flung himself across the turf trying to stop yet another Johnson wide from reaching the boundary.

Most commented


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    • Richard says:

      03:34pm | 29/11/10

      Brett Lee ftw!

    • rufus says:

      07:18am | 30/11/10

      Drop a suspected has-been for an actual has-been?

    • Ryan Jon says:

      03:38pm | 29/11/10

      And third, if you bowl like shit, at least hold your catches and make some runs.

    • RF says:

      09:23pm | 29/11/10

      ha ha - brilliant comment…. Ryan you should be a selector

    • Markus says:

      03:40pm | 29/11/10

      Has anyone else been considering that Johnson’s form hasn’t necessarily gotten worse, but that everyone has wised up to him?
      He was always an inaccurate bowler, who had a knack for getting batsmen out with seemingly ridiculous balls.
      Now it just seems batsmen have learned to avoid his occasional ridiculous delivery rather than go for it, and just wait for his next pedestrian one. Thoughts?

      Regarding who to replace him with: he is a left-arm fast bowler. How hard a decision is it to replace him with another left-arm fast bowler, especially when the other one is the only Aussie bowler currently in the world’s top ten bowlers? (Doug Bollinger, for everyone not following at home).

    • Budz says:

      04:24pm | 29/11/10

      Exactly what I was telling a friend yesterday. He would always get batsmen with a simple sucker delivery on the drive outside off stump. Now batsmen leave those and wait for other crap. The issue for him is that he doesn’t swing it back in to the right hander, so because of his natural angle across them, they don’t usually have to play.

    • Bobster says:

      05:17pm | 29/11/10

      Agree completely. He was successful for a while because it had been years since a left hand quick had been on the scene. After a year or two everyone worked him out.

      I don’t expect to see him perform again unless he seriously re-invents himself, and he doesn’t seem to have the brains for that.

    • Adrian says:

      06:15pm | 29/11/10

      I disagree and think that at his best (vs South Africa in Perth) he can produce unplayable deliveries and really threaten batsmen. But he hasn’t been able to re-create that, or even come close to re-creating that, for some time now.

      And Markus is spot on, if Johnson is out, Bollinger is in. Very simple.

    • Gerard says:

      07:17pm | 29/11/10

      Bringing in Bollinger is the right call. Australia really missed him early on day four. They needed sustained aggression to rip through the English lineup and they just didn’t have it. Hilfenhaus, Bollinger, Siddle and Krejza for Adelaide.

    • Tim says:

      08:02pm | 29/11/10

      The guy (Johnson) was the International Cricketer of the year 2009. He’s bloody good. Except somebody has scrambled his thick head and he has no idea what type of bowler he is or should be. Time he is rested until he has sorted himself out. Also, North will have at least one failure in Adelaide, which is the entire reason he should be dropped permanently - far too inconsistent for a Test batsman.

    • Punters Pal says:

      09:18am | 30/11/10

      I agree that Johnson should be dropped for Bollinger, but how come Hilfenhaus is getting a break. He managed to fluke one wicket with a rubbish ball and did nothing else. Unless there are real English conditions and ball swings, he offers nothing.

    • peter warrington says:

      09:22am | 30/11/10

      i disagree with this too, go and read the cricinfo commentary from the 09 ashes and relive each of his 20 wickets. mostly top order batsmen blasted out, ot thought out with slow balls following unplayable throat balls. yes he went for 4 an over but so did most leg spinners before warne.

      he’s just out of form. he should be dropped.

      so are Hilfenhaus, clarke, north and haddin (with the gloves) - the first three should be dropped and Haddin maintained as a specialist batsman (potentially to open with Watson, Katich on notice.)

      they need three quicks and smith and krezja PLUS Watson.

      plus ca change!

    • peterb says:

      09:15am | 01/12/10

      Disagree that he hasn’t got worse.
      At the Gabba he was just slow.
      135 kph all day.

    • Macca says:

      03:48pm | 29/11/10

      Bring in Dougie. The bloke was unlucky to be left out for Siddle. Drop one-lefty for the other.

      Also, @Ant Sharwood. 2 things: 1. Excellent Stick cricket plug. If only it wasn’t blocked at Work
      2. “Today, I thought I’d give Johnson his fair chance and watch every ball of his spell after the lunch break, then analyse it with something approaching an even hand”. So, your job at The Punch is to watch cricket? Lucky Bastard

    • Ant Sharwood says:

      04:04pm | 29/11/10

      Macca, we usually have sky news on the telly anyway, but it gets a bit of a rest on cricket days.

      Anyway it’s not that lucky getting time out to watch a M Johnson spell. He’s bowling so crap, it only takes 20 mins out of my day, then back to work!

    • Jonno says:

      08:53am | 01/12/10

      According to one of the media leaks from the selectors relayed y Channel 9, Bolinger was left out because the team was picked on current form over statistics.  On that argument Mitch should be gone and the form bower of the last year (Dougie) should be in.  I’m not optimistic - I don’t think Dougie treats the powers that be with the deference they think they deserve.

    • Chilluns Rock says:

      03:49pm | 29/11/10

      Johnson may well be chucking pies but. on the other hand, his mother loves him and he has some very impressive tattoos.

    • ENGLAND says:

      03:50pm | 29/11/10

      Leave him in!!! and North smile

    • Yemen Cricket Association says:

      07:26am | 30/11/10

      We’ll give him a go.

    • K says:

      04:02pm | 29/11/10

      As usual, the selectors leave these type of calls to late. Will they go for such a big shake up in such a big series like the ashes when Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, North and Johnson are all struggling for form/fitness? Rest assured that if Tim Paine was fit brad haddin would be quaking in his ‘keeper pads as well. Golden boy Clarke has to many tickets with the selectors to keep his place, as does Johnson. Ponting is the captain. Usual suspects Huss and North are under fire, though you can help but think Huss will be right for this series because he made 195 on a brisbane road. Ponting loves North being able to bowl. Steve Smith to get his spot? Bolly for Johnson, Khawaja for Clarke (if unfit). all that in one test? probably not

    • Varuni says:

      06:00pm | 29/11/10

      Mate, 195 isn’t struggling

    • K says:

      06:42pm | 29/11/10

      When the team batting second on the 4th and 5th day can compile 500+ for the loss of one wicket one questions the pitch. It was an absolute road and well done to him for 195, it doesn’t mask the fact he is averaging 30 in the past two years (down from 86)

    • Dinkim Davo says:

      04:22pm | 29/11/10

      To throw out Johnson, you first shall throw out Ricky, he wont make out the year as captain anyways, so why not just throw him out in the middle of the Ashes.

      Australian Cricket selectors need to wise up to up and coming talents and throw out these oldies (Yes I’m calling Johnson old and worn out)

      We need YOUNGBLOOD!

    • Jane Wallace says:

      04:41pm | 29/11/10

      Why did Andrew Strauss Declare at all? England should have kept batting until the end of the First test Brisbane.
      Australian bowlers will not get any better at the Second Test at The Adelaide Oval ,the most renowned bats people paradise in Australia.
      Drop Johnson,Clarke,North,Hilfenhaus,and Doherty

    • Jane Wallace says:

      04:46pm | 29/11/10

      retain Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle, and Mike Hussey only.
      The rest of the Australian team performed so well that they could be mistaken for NSW Labor candidates at the New South Wales State Election March 26 2011

    • peter warrington says:

      09:25am | 30/11/10

      Jane, I love your work!

    • Jon says:

      09:01am | 01/12/10

      Most of the Labor members are jumping ship before the election!  Seriously, no matter how good he is, Haddin should have gone the way of Greg Dyer.  Remember Haddin knocking the bails off with his gloves (which were in front of the stumps) and then claiming the Kiwi batsman was bowled?  ODI in Perth a couple of years ago.  Still, what can you expect with the underarm captain now a selector…

    • S.L says:

      04:47pm | 29/11/10

      I don’t think Mitchell Johnson has had a bad test. He has played the same every time I have watched him. Bottom line in my opinion he is not a test bowler and never has been. An interesting point bringing up Thomo though. Lillie and Thomo were the last pace bowling attack from Australia to strike fear into opposition batsman. Of course Warnie is up there too but he wasn’t pace and even Glen McGrath has been quoted as saying he used to bore them out with monotinous line and length.
      Who in the current Aussie team exites a crowd?
      Give up?
      So do I.
      The only current Australian cricketer to get a crowd going is batsman Dave Warner but one failure and he’s gone! Shows the selecters didn’t really want him there in the first place.
      As for bowlers? Next question!

    • Daniel says:

      04:48pm | 29/11/10

      I reckon the difference between Johnson in form and Johnson out of form is about 10-15kph. In the mid/high 130’s with his inaccuracy he isn’t a threat, however when he was in the high 140’s-low 150’s even with inaccuracy he made the batsman worry.

      Plus, is it just me or did he used to get a bit of movement when he was bowling faster?

    • BPobjie says:

      08:05pm | 29/11/10

      I think he did. At high pace he got a bit of swing and also had that really dangerous cutter going.

      At his best he doesn’t rely purely on his angle, he gets close to the stumps, sends it down on about off-stump and jags it just a bit further away off the pitch.

      I don’t think he’s finished, but he does need a spell in the Shield.

    • hendo says:

      04:52pm | 29/11/10

      He’s overdone in the tatts department, too. What is this, Test cricket or the NRL? Speaking of which, it’s a shame Peter Siddle conducts interviews in NRL-speak. Lots of “Yeah, nahs” and Yeah mate, yeahs”. He also says “I seen” things instead of “I saw” them, and “I done” things instead of “I did” them. It’s a great shame for the gentleman’s game - might as well put Andrew Johns on the commentary team.

    • tiger says:

      06:39pm | 29/11/10

      i’m glad other people are noticing this too. Tatts are bad esp on pansy looking cricketers….Johnson/Clarke, tatts don’t make you look tough at all, a pansy is a pansy with or without tatts!

    • Can I have my money back, please? says:

      11:01am | 30/11/10

      I reckon the overdone tatts have thrown Johnno’s arm completely out of whack hendo, far too much heavy stuff on one side. Perhaps he thinks the tatts are an intimidation factor, like performing the haka or something, but I really don’t know what the choirboy Clarke is doing with them, someone should tell him that on him they look plain silly, like a fat woman wearing a Wallabies jumper. On the other hand maybe it’s just the WAGS and very expensive cars, and that strong destabilising influence when a grossly over inflated ego catches the breeze.

    • big fan!! says:

      04:55pm | 29/11/10

      Mitchell Johnson should stay!!! Everyone deserves another chance! okay sure he had a horrible game probably the worst i have ever seen of his but give him another chance! If he is already lacking confidence chucking him out after a bad performance isnt going to help him at all!! Give him another go he deserves another chance! it isnt often that we see him play that badly. Also, I love watching cricket especially when aussie play and i have to say most of the time when the camera cuts to Johnson he does not look happy or like he is enjoying himself. He knows he has screwed up big time so if he sees the fans are standing behind him that might just be all the help he needs!!!

    • Squirkle says:

      05:41pm | 29/11/10

      We’re not playing under 12’s where you pander to kids feelings, we’re out there to win the Ashes! Johnson struggled in batting, bowling and catching so he should get the boot, he’s taking up the spot of someone else who could probably bowl decent line and length or God forbid catch a ball!

    • MK says:

      07:09pm | 29/11/10

      I always thought that was a croc,
      bowlers should eb able to bowl well in nets or test,
      eitehr you can bowl fast and accurate or you cant,
      you can swing or spin (given conditions) or you can’t
      A bowler could bowl one bad ball an over and still be attacking
      A batsmen can only make one mistake, so the confidence argument does hold some water

    • murph says:

      11:42pm | 29/11/10

      “Everyone deserves another chance! “

      What about me then?

    • Kaff says:

      09:29am | 30/11/10

      If someone in the ordinary world can be sacked for poor performance of the job they are paid to do, then why shouldn’t Mitchell Johnson? 

      While it mightn’t be often that we see him play *badly*, it also isn’t often that we’ve seen him play *well*.  The Australian cricket team should not be the support cushion for those lacking confidence.  It’s for those who are playing top cricket. 

      Let him rebuild his confidence at Shield level, he shouldn’t be keeping someone out of the XI who will actually perform.

    • biff says:

      04:58pm | 29/11/10

      It’s time to blood some new talent. Making way for that new talent should be Johnson (even he doesn’t know where he’ll bowl the next ball in his alloted 6 ball over); North…it’s time to head South with North; Clarke (a ton once a year ain’t enough); and possibly a new opening batsman.

    • John C says:

      05:22pm | 29/11/10

      This is a very poor bowling attack, the worst we have had for many years. Siddel is probably the best; at least he tries. Hilfenhaus is a trundler and will never be anything more, Watson is a batsman who can bowl a bit, and finger spinners are everyday fare for the Poms.

      The real passenger is Johnson who, whatever his abilities, lacks the toughness of character that Test cricket requires. This is a bloke who went to pieces during the last Ashes series in England because, apparently, his mum was not talking to him. Compare this to Shane Warne who, despite a marriage breakup and despite the Barmy Army taunting him with chants of Warnie, where’s your missus and Warnie, where’s your kids, still managed to take 30 odd wickets and star with the bat. That is character.

      Bad captaincy and even worse selection decisions has caused the no 1 team in the world to become also rans. Sack Ponting from the captaincy and let him concentrate on his batting, sack Johnson and North, tell Clarke he has one more chance, and ride Hilditch, Boon and the nameless selector from Tssmania out of town on the rails. Give the rest of them a transfusion using Warnie and Steve Waugh’s blood and we might get somewhere.

    • David says:

      05:42pm | 29/11/10

      It’s simple.  His form warrants being dropped.  Same with North.  Clarke is also looking shaky and unless fully fit, should make way for a fully fit player.  There is nothing wrong with dropping an out of form player and bringing in an in-form player.  It was the fear of being dropped that seems to have inspired Hussey.  Maybe if some others felt some pressure they would dig deep.  If not, drop them and bring them back when form permits and when someone else is out of form or injured. 
      If you look through our team, no one inspires fear.  Batters or bowlers.  Watson can hit it and has done well opening but he isn’t an opening batsmen and doesn’t go on and make a big score often enough.  Ponting is still world class but his form hasn’t been great.  His captaincy may not be inspired but it isn’t as bad as people say. Easy to look good with a great team and to look crap and searching for ideas with a crap team.  Hughes should never have been dropped.  One bad test against some very good bowling and he isn’t seen again.  He at least inspires fear!  Bring back Hughes, move Watson to the middle order.  Jason Kreija is also the one spinner who can take a truck load of wickets.  He may leak runs but what wicket taking spinner doesn’t on days one and two of a flat pitch?  A spinner isn’t in a test match to contain.  He is in there to take wickets.  If we don’t have a wicket taking spinner, don’t bother playing one.

    • MK says:

      07:12pm | 29/11/10

      It isnt as bad
      Its Worse!
      Drop Johnson, North , Clarke and Ponting
      will have a huge improvement!

    • Anthony says:

      05:48pm | 29/11/10

      Clarke should be getting the flick

    • G Money says:

      05:58pm | 29/11/10

      Why cant australia play 2 keepers.
      Brad Haddin and T Paine are 2 of australias best batsmen at the moment

    • K says:

      06:39pm | 29/11/10

      Paine broke his finger in the all stars 20/20. out for 6-8 weeks

    • Richard says:

      06:58pm | 29/11/10

      yeah that’s a good idea, they can each take turns at being the custodian and swap over ay the start of each new session.

    • Geoff says:

      09:41am | 30/11/10

      How can T Paine play cricket, when he’s on a boat?

    • Mickey says:

      06:00pm | 29/11/10

      The first one to go surely must be Hilditch as chief of selectors he just cannot make it. Even if it is the Ashes, time for a lot of new blood to replace Clarke, North and Johnson. Hussey saved himself temporarily as did Siddle and Haddin but we need new blood in there.

    • Billy Bloggs says:

      06:25pm | 29/11/10

      Dont make Mitch the only culprit here, Take Hussey and Haddins contibutions out of batting line-up and what are you left with.CRAP. Our next Captain on waiting is one to be looked at closely. he made 9 runs. His technique was pittiful. Then drops a sitterof a catch at 1st slip,alsohow many chances do you give North. Another crap dsplay at least he didn`t bowll too badly and did get the ONLY wicket in Englands marathom innings .No I`m not a Pom just a dis gruntled Aussie who thinks England has all the momentum going into the next test.

    • MK says:

      07:17pm | 29/11/10

      It was a hard test to judge form on,
      Not sure how much conditions played,
      but for second innings at least, There ws only slight chance of getting a new batsmen out with new ball,
      Hilf almost had one first bowl of innings,
      England did get one early wicket,
      By the same tocken, this discredits pontings performance with the bat in second innings

      Australian openers went okay in first,
      said it before say again drop jonhson, north, clarke and ponting

    • Luke says:

      06:40pm | 29/11/10

      @AnthonySharwood… where is your article on Marcus North? I assume he is still getting picked because he bowls part time spin? Because his batting isn’t up to standards.

      He needs to be dropped and in his place khawaja.

    • Richard says:

      08:49pm | 29/11/10

      khawaja in for clarke, smith in for north.

    • Ant says:

      09:16pm | 29/11/10

      Richard, spot on mate.

    • Ben says:

      06:44pm | 29/11/10

      His body language is terrible, head down, mopping around. We need someone with a spring in their step and the killer instinct.

    • peterb says:

      09:25am | 01/12/10

      Agree with this.
      He is too soft to be a fast bowler.

    • stephen says:

      06:47pm | 29/11/10

      Mitch is cactus and so’s the Captain.
      When I looked it was 1 for 306 and there was a bloody great crack in the pitch 2 feet forward of the batsman’s feet, and I had to look again : England should have been bowled for half that.

    • Gary says:

      06:58pm | 29/11/10

      It’s probably not the best bowling attack nor do I think it’s capable of taking 20 wickets to win a match, with whom do you replace them with ? I’m not sure.
        But ...
        England also have a problem of not having the best bowling attack nor do I think it’s capable of taking 20 wickets to win a match.
        This series will probably come down to who wins the toss and the pitch after day 4. Pretty equal really.
        As for M Johnson carry the drinks at Adelaide and let Bollinger have a trundle. It will be flat and a batsman’s paradise. Nowhere to hide just lots of line and length.

    • Pom and Proud says:

      07:02pm | 29/11/10

      Time for Australia to face facts. They are not good enough anymore to provide credible competition for England. Just watch us walk all over you in Adelaide like we have done the last 2 days. The future is bright the future is English!

      Johnson ot otherwise this test series will prove that the long period of Australian dominance is over and the ashes will remain in their rightful home for some time to come. Stilll at least Australian cricket has something in common with South Korea in that in the face of adversity its attack is very questionable. And before you all start bleating about South Africans take a close look at the country of birth of a good proportion of your Rugby League team.

    • Bill says:

      08:17pm | 29/11/10

      Nothing better than an over-confident pom. We heard all this ranting and raving before the first test match about how the Empires 11 would walk all over us. Well, it didn’t happen did it? You were saved by a flattening pitch and some woeful bowling.

      This draw is the best thing that could have happen. Now we will see the changes in selection that were desperately needed. The Empires 11 aren’t anywhere near the world beaters they claim and I can’t wait to hear the infamous pommy whinge after they are found out. Make no mistake, there is plenty of Aussie talent hanging around in shield games, it’s just a matter of the selectors choosing the right ones for a change.

    • Greg says:

      06:52am | 30/11/10

      Pom I hate to be the one to break this to you champ, but England don’t look anymore likely to take 20 wickets than Australia do right now. Between them, Broad and Swann bowled 91 overs and took only 3 wickets for the match at the wonderfully impressive combined strike rate of 182.

    • Jack says:

      07:19pm | 29/11/10

      Why is it that only our selectors can’t see that Johnson should be out of the team and reacquainting himself with the Sheffield Shield competition?  North is a no-brainer.  He’s not scored runs and that is the job of the number six.  Time to find a replacement captain-in-waiting as Clake is not the man.  Does anybody see Clarke as a man in the mould of Border or Waugh?  Now is the time for a hard man to be in charge of the team.  Tough times require tough men.  The ACB have been asleep at the wheel for too long now.  Hilditch and Siddons should be out too.  What does Tim Neilsen really contribute?  Without personnel like Hayden, Gilchrist, Warne, McGrath, and the gutsy Langer, the rest can’t just coast along any more.

    • Edmund says:

      07:38pm | 29/11/10

      Good going selectors - keep North and basically force the man who could be slaying the Poms - one B Hodge into retirement.  Lets hope they do not keep Johnson and force Dougie into retirement.

    • Mike says:

      07:50pm | 29/11/10

      He either wants to be a serious strike bowler or he wants to be a catwalk model doing photo shoots for the cameras…And whats with all the stupid tatts on his arms??.....looks like the dopes been rolling on wet comic papers. But its not only Johnson that has to be punted…Its also Clarke and North. I said vefore the test that I would be surprised if those Two gave us more than 25 runs between them for the middle order…They gave us the princely total of 11. Both these bloke have been batting like busted backsides for the past 2 seasons without getting dropped. If you were a coach of a football team and a player missed 20 tackles a game and dropped the ball several times also…would you keep him in the side??.....No bloody way.

    • murph says:

      07:59am | 30/11/10

      Except if they were the Wallabies who are a pack of showboaters who can’t be sacked either

    • Mike says:

      07:59pm | 29/11/10

      Why not start rebuilding the team and give someone like Mitchell Starc a go!

    • brent says:

      07:06am | 30/11/10

      Glad someone brought him up Mike.  Now there’s someone who could cause some real trouble if he transitioned well to the big time.  He’s looked good from the little we’ve seen.

      Our selectors are clueless - we’ve had our side decimated/shocked once with a whole load of retirements at once and it’s going to happen again if they don’t start gradually moving people on.  Guys like Ferguson need to be given a chance.  Otherwise in a very short space of time we’re going to lose Katich,Ponting,Haddin,Hussey etc…..  For starters bring in one of the young guns for North and give Starc a go ahead of Johnson.  Alternate Hilfenhaus and Bollinger according to the conditions (swing or not)

    • JG says:

      08:21am | 30/11/10

      Starc is injured. I’d be playing Steve o’Keefe and possible Copland.

      Look at Johnson’s bowling arm in delivery, any lower and he’d be bowling under arm.

      And therein lies the problem.

    • BJA says:

      08:21pm | 29/11/10

      Clarke played injured, that was obvious to me. North is not as consistent as need in the middle order. Johnson has lost the edge. The bowling coaches have to tried to turn him into something he is not. He has always bowled loose deliveries, he should just go back to bowling as fast as possible and take the shock wicket.

    • DragonLass says:

      08:35pm | 29/11/10

      Johnson’s form seemed to go off the rails about the same time he started getting that ridicuously ugly sleeve tattoo.  Coincidence? I think not.  I think he’s far more concerned about his looks, his modelling career and his hot girlfriend than he is concerned with focusing on his cricket.
      Being dropped from the team would give him a good opportunity to think about whether he still wants to keep playing at the top level, and if the answer is yes, then he needs to refocus.

    • DaisyDuke says:

      08:39pm | 29/11/10

      Opinions on Mitch aside (and the majority of these commentators who call for the whole team to be sacked, be realistic), have a go at the curator.

      900 runs on the last 3 days for the loss of 7 wickets… glad I only had tickets to the first two. Looks like the curator overcompensated when 3 teams were rolled for less than 100 a few weeks ago at the Gabba

      P Sizzle though…. magic moment that was.

    • steve parker says:

      08:39pm | 29/11/10

      Mitch - Billy Big Mouth -

      “Cook is the weak link and I intend to target him in the series.” Yeah, sure.

    • In dipper needed says:

      08:43pm | 29/11/10

      Until MJ can jag the Kooka back from outside off stump,he is too predictable,bowling wide and across the right handers is not good enough, {DKLillee always said bowl at the stumps if they miss they are out and the outswinger to the RHander is likely to get wickets.}he needs some coaching and hard work ,he has to be dropped togive the other Left Arm bowler a go {Bollinger } he may be able to do better .The Poms have studied us so a quick they havent played too much against needs to be bought in. Adelaide is a flat track and a draw likely if our batsmen perform, so it can be a testing ground for bowlers. Johnson needs to go north with North two new bowlers ,and Steve Smith is overdue.

    • chris says:

      08:44pm | 29/11/10

      Johnson’s action is a “natural"action rather than a taught / learnt action. When he goes astray there is no logical process to go through to get it right it is trial and error every ball. Compare Sandy Lyle and Nick Faldo as golfers - both were very good, although when Lyle lost control of his swing it took years to get it back again, with Faldo it would take a couple of weeks of analysis and practice. But then again what do I know (or care), I’m a Pommie.

    • stevie p says:

      08:50pm | 29/11/10

      “Mitchell Johnson has not had the best of Test matches – to put it kindly – so Andrew Strauss could easily have twisted the knife when asked about the Aussie paceman’s rash pre-series comments about targeting the England captain with bouncers. But he didn’t. “I always think it’s not something you want to talk about, the opposition, too much. It’s important we respect all their bowlers and we’ll continue to do that,” Strauss said. Walking the walk but not talking the talk; taking notes, Mitch?”

    • Peter says:

      08:50pm | 29/11/10

      Johnson is clearly pussy-whipped, focussing more on his personal grooming - the little Movember effort and tatts - than he does doing his job as a demon bowler. How can one be a demon quick and a pretty boy at the same time? Impossible, surely, innit? Looking at his girlfriend, you can hardly blame the poor fella for being a bit distracted, but it’s just not good for Australian cricket

    • Mick says:

      09:57pm | 29/11/10

      Johnson is a one trick pony - if he’s not nudging 150k’s, he’s no good to us. His batting is a bonus, not to be considered in his selection as a spearhead of our bowling attack.

      Hussey remains my man of the match - England’s batsman didn’t have to face tough spells of bowling like he did.

    • Geoff says:

      10:13pm | 29/11/10

      The simple fact is that there is no Australian bowler other than Johnson who can, on a good day, consistently take England out.  Notwithstanding the hat trick, Siddle is an honest bowler not a matchwinner.  At his best Johnson is respected, even feared.  There’s no choice but to go with him, and hope there’s a way to fire him up—the head is the problem, the rest will come into line once it’s there.

    • Michelle says:

      10:25pm | 29/11/10

      The ink in Johnson’s asymmetric tattoo has knocked him off balance. He’s walking with a limp. I recommend orthotic correction.

      Or maybe it’s blocked his chi. He should try some crystals in his pocket.

      Or maybe he’s just walking with an attitude. In which case I recommend orthodox correction i.e. knock that chip off your shoulder, Son!

    • Jason says:

      11:32pm | 29/11/10

      Looking at Johnson’s form in the past 8 months, he really has to go (11 wickets at an average of 58.91).  Replace him with Bollinger or Ryan Harris (who’s form at the moment in shield cricket is outstanding).  Hilfenhaus needs to up his game as well.

      As for North, I agree he needs to go, but I’d actually dump Clarke as well.  Again, past eight months, Clarke has averaged 20.33 and North 19.78 (and yet where are the calls for Clarke’s scalp?).  Just because he’s vice-captain should ‘not’ equal a free ride.  Khawaja in for Clarke and Sean Marsh in for North (Marsh to open with Katich and Watson back up the order to 6).

    • peter warrington says:

      09:44am | 30/11/10

      they’ve done to khawaja what they did to jaques last time - didn’t pick him when they should have and when he was in form… now his form is tapering, they won’t.

      white in and to be skipper? with a team of kids (sort of)?

      White (c)
      Haddin (if no runs then drop for Paine when fit)
      Faukner!!!! (his form is ridiculously good)

      as for Ponting, Kim Hughes’ finest hour arguably, and definitely his Ashes highpoint, was swallowing his captaincy pride and grinding England into the dirt with 469 at 69 in the 82-3 series. Ponting could just relax and bat(ter).

    • Gregg says:

      11:54pm | 29/11/10

      Yep, there’s sure some problems that have been building for a while and as always age is a huge factor, one where we have for the past couple of decades been able to get away with near geriatic gangs with some world class players compared to other teams.
      It is probably that a few teams that have been down have rebuilt, the Poms with a few imports to help or their cricket has just developed, just like Sri Lanka, even with a civil war raging and a Tsunami.

      Katich, Ponting, Hussey are not long off retirement and it’s not just Johnson nearing 30 either for Watson and Clarke are in the same boat and you’ve got North already 31 and Haddin @ 33 and some luck that Mr Cricket and Brad found some much needed form though the good pitch and a few chances helped.
      The other more youthful but not real young bowlers are the most inexperienced we have had for decades.
      It’s no wonder you’re always going to have a few batsmen more out of form than in it and bowlers struggling to get wickets on good batting pitches.

      But for three players and some good luck which included Strauss electing to bat first we would have been deep in the dark smelly stuff.
      We had better get used to it for take the near 30s out, two with chronic health problems and the over 30s out and there’ll not be much of a team left.
      Alan Border had to virtually carry Australia for near half a decade as the team was rebuilt but we’ll not even have an Alan Border around so it could be a grim decade or so ahead no where as good as it was for the better part of the last two.
      Clarke with a dodgy back isn’t a long term Captain option and that he is not of the best right stuff, it is the ACB that need to wear the mantle of not doing enough to have been bringing some younger team and Captains material on well before now.

    • Col says:

      06:27am | 30/11/10

      If we are to be honest this team is one of the worst ever to respresent this Country and continues to deline..
      Johnson must be dropped and Dougherty is just not up to standard   but don’t stop there - also take a look at the batsmen .
      Clarke and North should not be in the team and for that matter Hussey despite his score in the last test is over the hill.
      It is time to bring in the next generation -Clarke, North and Hussey should now be replaced with the young brigade and whilst we are on the job bring in the young all rounder Smith as well.
      Sure we may well lose the current series but that is going to happen anyway so why not take the opportunity to plan for the future.

      If we are going to get really serious we should also look at the Selectors - in particulur the Chairmen . Their selections of players has been nothing short of a disgrace .

    • J says:

      06:42am | 30/11/10

      Johnson just needs to find the right line and length; and to do that McGrath needs to hop on a plane and take him through the nets for a few hours.

    • The King says:

      08:47am | 30/11/10

      wouldnt work.
      McGrath was a machine - a correct, upright action, that was repeatable.  Hence his accuracy.
      Johnson’s is an ugly slinging thing…
      McGrath could talk to him for hours and it wouldn’t change a thing….

      Johnson’s problem is he is weak mentally - as is Clarke.  Compare this to Hussey - who came into this test under fire (who knows why he was more so than North) - and produced the goods.

    • seriously says:

      07:07am | 30/11/10

      it appears there can be only one solution, for the third test the ACB should create a viewer poll where any and all australian fans can vote on who they think should be in the team for the third test. The players who get the most votes get to play. if we win this is how the team will be selected from now on. if we lose it becomes a yearly tradition until we win.

      also if strauss had any balls he would’ve declared with the lead around 200 or 230 and really made a game of it

    • Adam says:

      07:23am | 30/11/10

      Is it just me or do Aussie selectors pick their teams on reputation, not current form? Mitchell Johnson should never have been chosen in the ashes squad. His recent form has been no where near international level. The fact that he was selected, played poorly, and is now most likely going to be dropped tells me the selectors have no idea at all! The fact that we had a 17 man squad also tells me the selectors have no idea! England didn’t even bring that many players for their whole tour!
      Look at our tour of India, we had players like Steve Smith over there for a few weeks running out drinks. The selectors say he was “picked in the squad for experience”... ummm… is running out drinks the kind of experience that is going to bring Australian cricket back to where it was 5 years ago? I think not. If the selectors were smart, they would have left him back home playing shield/odd matches and spending time in the middle honing his craft.

      People are saying that its the ‘end of an era’ for Australian cricket. But the thing is, its not due to lack of talent, its due to poor administration! There is plenty of talent in Australia, and a lot of it is being wasted.
      Get rid of all current selectors, bring in a fresh bunch who actually have an idea and lets move forward, not backwards!

    • brendo says:

      12:42pm | 30/11/10

      adam i think this is a poor comment and shows a lack of insight into australian cricket administration as a whole

    • Sippa says:

      01:22pm | 30/11/10

      Bring Mike Whitney back to the game!

    • Mike Whitney says:

      01:41pm | 30/11/10

      Hell yeah I’ll play!

    • Julian says:

      01:56pm | 30/11/10

      @ Brendo, why is this a poor comment? Do you have some insight that we do not have? Sick of people who want to say” well you have a lack of insight” but yet what insight can you give? Has the Aussie team been playing well and we just didnt notice? Thats right, selectors and officials are quick to dismiss what anyone but themselves have to say, on the back of the argument Punters dont have an insight” Well, it could be argued that following the last string of results, its the selectors who are lacking insight, they cant even tell when the team is performing like crap. At the end of the day , proof is in the pudding, so what are we missing Brendo? please enlighten us!

    • brendo says:

      12:08pm | 01/12/10

      Its a poor comment because, sausage and you are missing tomato beans and egg.

      so purple

    • Greg says:

      07:45am | 30/11/10

      I actually thought Watson was worse, but he’ll be saved by his batting maybe.  I didn’t see many threatening balls from either.  All wide or overpitched or underpitched.  All we wanted was 6 balls in or at least near the right spot.  Maybe they should give them both Glenn McGrath tapes and make them watch them over and over till they get the point.

    • peterb says:

      08:41am | 02/12/10

      Watson could stay there on the basis of his batting alone at the moment.
      He is one of the more consistent batsmen

    • Erica says:

      06:58am | 01/12/10

      you people are so quick to judge!! i would love to see you guys out there trying to do what they are trying to do! you are supposed to stay behind your national team and support them. not rubbish the crap out of them! sure they are not all performing at their total best but if you dump them all how will they get any better??? give them all a break! they didnt lose they drew sure they should have won it but lay of them. stand behind the national team. i know that who ever takes the field in the second test i will be supporting them 100%

    • peterb says:

      09:26am | 02/12/10

      Criticism of Johnson is not based on his performance in one Test.
      It is failure over an extended period.  His previous good record has saved his bacon for long enough.  There are others who could do a better job and deserve their chance.


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