Aussies play safe, pick best possible squad
Birthday boy Johnson set to make Test debut:
The Australian cricket selectors have not taken chances, but picked
their best available squad for the First Test against Sri Lanka starting
at the Gabba on November 8.
Knowing the capabilities of the Lankans, who have the knack of
getting under the skins of the Aussies and tormenting them the Aussie
selectors headed by former opening batsman Andrew Hilditch, have picked
in-form and the best available.
The Aussies will line up seven batsmen and six bowlers and will pick
their playing eleven after a look at the Gabba wicket on the morning of
The batsmen are: Ricky Ponting (capt), Adam Gilchrist, Michael
Clarke, Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Phil Jacques, and Andrew Symonds.
The bowlers: Brett Lee, Michael Johnson, Stuart Clarke. Nick Tait and
Stuart MacGill and Brandd Hogg as spinners.
The best gift that comes Johnson’s way - he celebrates his 26th
birthday today (Nov. 2) is that he is certain to wear the proud baggy
green cap and make his long awaited debut.
Johnson a protege of the famous Dennis Lilles who has described
Johnson the left arm paceman as a ‘once in a lifetime prospect’ has
overcome his injury problems and is set to let fly at the Lankan
A little known fact about Johnson as revealed by his mother is that
he almost died of malnutrition when he was just two months old from a
condition that stopped nutrients reaching his stomach.
While the Aussie batting line up will have no problems the first
seven being - Matthew Hayden, Phil Jacques, Ricky Ponting, Michael
Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Michael Hussey and Adam Gilchrist, it is the
bowling that is a bit of a worry for the selectors.
Brett Lee will lead the pace battery with Nick Tait and Michael
Johnson for support. If they opt to leave out Tait, then Stuart Clarke
would come in.
As for the spinners the scale tilts in favour of Stuart MacGill, who
is set to take over the role of Shane Warne. MacGill is also a match
winning leg spinner and should fill in the void created with the
retirement of Warne.
Pity if left arm spinner Bradd Hogg has to miss out. He has been
bowling with great success in the Pura Cup games and will be in the
frame when the final eleven is picked.
From the squad picked it is apparent that the selectors are not sure
as to how the wicket would play. They have named a any wicket - pace or
spin - squad and will have to problems in picking a winning combination.
Many were tiping, Simon Katich who made a triple hundred to be in the
squad. But then the selectors could pick only a certain squad and Katich
was unlucky to miss out.