• Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mitchell Johnson ruled out with infected toe

AP
Mitchell Johnson. Star File Photo
Mitchell Johnson. Star File Photo

Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson will miss cricket's World Twenty20 tournament because of a toe infection. Cricket Australia announced on Sunday that Johnson's place in the Australian squad will be taken by the 32-year-old international veteran Doug Bollinger, a change later ratified by the game's international governing body.

Johnson's intimidating pace was a key factor in Australia's 5-0 Ashes sweep against England over the southern summer, and he backed it up with more match-winning performances in the recent test series win in South Africa.

The infection in Johnson's right toe developed when he cut his foot during the third test against South Africa in Cape Town last month. He had been receiving medical treatment in Perth and Cricket Australia intended to delay his departure for Bangladesh in the hope the infection would respond to antibiotics.

With no sign of improvement, the decision was made Sunday to replace Johnson with Bollinger, who has played only two T20 internationals - the most recent in 2011. "We have given Mitchell as long as we can but unfortunately his infection hasn't responded to the treatment as quickly as we had hoped with swelling remaining in his toe and foot," Cricket Australia chief medical officer Justin Paoloni said in a statement. "It is difficult to say how quickly the infection will take to resolve and due to the high risk of infection recurrence with a return to bowling we feel it is in the best interests of Mitchell's health for him to continue to receive intensive treatment in Perth."

National Selector John Inverarity said it was a setback for Australia, which has never won the World T20 event. "This is disappointing news as it was anticipated that Mitch would have a significant impact with his pace and menace," Inverarity said. "Doug Bollinger ... has had significant experience in the sub-continent and in international white ball cricket and his ability to bowl with good pace was a factor in his selection."

Australia coach Darren Lehmann raised the prospect of Johnson's withdrawal after Australia's six wicket win over South Africa in the recent third T20 international.

Lehmann said if Johnson wasn't fit, he wouldn't be traveling to Bangladesh for the tournament, which kicked off Sunday with the hosts against Afghanistan. Australia wasn't due to play until the second stage, which stars Friday.

Bollinger played the last of his 12 tests for Australia in 2010 and the most recent of 39 one-day internationals in 2011. He played for losing finalist Hobart Hurricanes in Australia's Big Bash Twenty20 League this season, taking six wickets at an average of 44.66 with an economy rate of 7.65.

After taking 31 wickets at 24.09 in Sheffield Shield first class matches this summer, Bollinger was added to Australia's test squad during the Ashes series as cover for Johnson and Ryan Harris. He was not needed as the squad remained unchanged while completing a whitewash.

Bollinger played four of his 19 ODIs on the sub-continent - all in India - returning best figures of 5-35 and an average of 19.33.

Published: 12:00 am Sunday, March 16, 2014

Last modified: 11:14 pm Sunday, March 16, 2014

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