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Johnson doubles down with pressure on ageing Aussie team to perform or perish: Time for ‘a period of dramatic change’

10th December, 2023
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10th December, 2023
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Former Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson believes David Warner is not the only Test player under pressure to show they belong in the team. 

Johnson, who created high drama last week when he questioned why Warner was being given a cushy ride to the finish line of his Test career, has doubled down in his latest column for The West Australian by saying other players are under pressure. 

The likely XI for Thursday’s Test in Perth will be stacked with players in their 30s with Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head, who are both 29, set to be the youngest members of the side. 

Johnson wants to see young quick Lance Morris get a run after he was selected in the 14-man squad. 

The 25-year-old Western Australian was part of the extended squad last summer but could not get a start. 

“This summer is a great opportunity to blood some young or performing players, especially when it’s against two teams in Pakistan and the West Indies who have struggled in Australia for a decent period of time,” Johnson wrote in his latest column for The West Australian.

DELHI, INDIA - FEBRUARY 24: Lance Morris of Australia bowls during an Australia Test squad training session at Arun Jaitley Stadium on February 24, 2023 in Delhi, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Lance Morris. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

“With Perth likely to present a fast and bouncy pitch, there would be no better place for the young tearaway to steam in for his Test debut.

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“Spots are up for grabs as the Australian Test team prepares to enter a period of dramatic change. It’s the building of the future that Australia must be looking at.”

Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith are entering the twilight of their careers while Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood are getting close to the end of their time as well unless they soldier on until their late 30s. 

Smith’s manager, Warren Craig, has put to bed rumours that the 34-year-old batter intends to quit soon after a series of cryptic comments this year. 

“I can debunk that at this point in time,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald this week.  “He’s still talking about things he wants to achieve.”

Warner’s place in the team has been a source of ongoing speculation due to his extended form slump in the Test format with Labuschagne and Mitchell Marsh touted as potential options to replace him at the top of the order along with specialist openers Cameron Bancroft, Matt Renshaw and Marcus Harris 

Test captain Pat Cummins said moving Marsh from six to opener is “a possibility” as it would allow fellow all-rounder Cameron Green to return to the middle order. 

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