Johnson's Test career 'hanging in limbo'
Mitchell Johnson might be seen carrying drinks in the first Test match against Sri Lanka if the selectors decide to pick a team, keeping next year's Ashes in mind, which would mean Mitchell Starc would play as the third fast bowler in the Australian playing eleven in Hobart.
Mitchell Johnson's immediate Test career will hinge on how far ahead the selectors cast their eyes. If the focus of the five-man panel falls squarely on the first Test against Sri Lanka, beginning in Hobart on Friday, then Johnson is a walk-up start, News.com.au reports.
But if the selectors have one eye on next year's Ashes tour, as they should, then Mitchell Starc is likely to get the nod, the paper added.
With Peter Siddle certain to return following minor hamstring concerns and Ben Hilfenhaus likely to play despite his failure to take early wickets in the first two Tests against South Africa, one of Australia's left-arm pacemen is in the frame to be 12th man, it said.
The paper further said that Johnson was clearly the pick of Australia's revamped pace attack during the Perth Test against South Africa last week, with Australia losing heavily to forfeit the series 1-0 and any chance of regaining the No.1 Test ranking.
It would be harsh to leave Johnson out after such a strong performance in his first Test for more than a year, when his international career appeared over. After six wickets for the match in Perth, Johnson needs just four more to become only the 14th Australian to claim 200 Test crickets, it added.
However, Starc, 22, and a veteran of just five Tests, is considered a key component of next year's Ashes campaign. As such, there is a desire to get as much Test and first-class cricket into him as reasonably possible over the next six months, without breaking him down, it said.