Proteas to dodge Johnson factor?

2014-11-15 08:43
Mitchell Johnson (AFP)

Cape Town - Australia paceman Mitchell Johnson may be rested after the second one-day international against South Africa to keep him fresh for the test series against India and next year's World Cup, the left-arm speedster said on Saturday.

Johnson celebrated his ICC Cricketer of the Year award by removing both South Africa's openers in the first ODI in Perth on Friday as Australia cantered to a 32-run win.

"It's looking that way at the moment," Johnson told local radio station Triple M when asked if he might stay in his home-town Perth with family after Sunday's second ODI at the WACA.

"The thing that I guess I've learned over time, I'm 33 now and played a lot of one-day games for my country, which has been a great honour, and test matches as well.

"With what we've got coming up ... it's a lot of cricket.

"So for me to be at my best and bowling fast, I need to be as fresh as possible.

"It's hard, I want to play every game I can for my country, but at the same time I want to be playing at my best so whatever the selectors and CA (Cricket Australia) want me to do, I'll go by them."

Johnson's absence would open the door for a variety of pacemen, including 23-year-old South Australian Kane Richardson, who bowled throughout Australia's 3-0 ODI sweep of Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates but was omitted for Perth in favour of seamers Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Coulter-Nile.

The player likely to be most pleased about Johnson's absence, however, might be Proteas all-rounder Ryan McLaren, whose arm was broken by a vicious ball from the rampaging left-armer during a one-day match in Zimbabwe in September.

Johnson also struck McLaren on the helmet during the test series in South Africa in March, leaving him bleeding from the ear.

McLaren continued to struggle with the short ball on Friday and was out for a duck after gloving a catch behind from a rising delivery by Coulter-Nile.

Johnson suggested whoever came in would be ready to target McLaren.

"Obviously with him at the moment he's struggled with the shorter ball and that's something that we'll keep doing," Johnson said.

"You've got to play to those guys' weaknesses and they're a good side, so whatever opportunities we get we've got to go with it.

"You do notice a bit of a change in the guys' faces when the ball is whistling through."

Read more on:    australia  |  proteas  |  mitchell johnson  |  cricket

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