x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Australia omit Mitchell Johnson for Twenty20 series in South Africa

Andrew Hilditch, the outgoing chairman of selectors, says the paceman's poor form in Sri Lanka is reason why he is not included.

MELBOURNE // Australia have omitted Mitchell Johnson from their Twenty20 side for their upcoming tour of South Africa after the paceman endured a poor run of matches in Sri Lanka.

The Queenslander, 29, was expensive in Australia's 2-0 series loss to the Sri Lankans and his struggles continued in the one-day internationals (ODI) and Test series wins that followed.

"Mitchell has struggled in this format of the game to date," Andrew Hilditch, the outgoing chairman of selectors, said.

"Most Twenty20 internationals have been at the start of tours and Mitchell has not always been at his best in these matches.

"Obviously Mitchell has a great skill set for Twenty20 cricket and we are sure he will put a lot of pressure on us to pick him in the future in the Twenty20 team."

Johnson's omission means a recall for Doug Bollinger, who will join Brett Lee, James Pattinson and the teenager Pat Cummins in the 14-man squad's pace quartet for the two T20 matches in South Africa next month.

Cummins, an 18 year old and the youngest ever Australian player to be handed a central contract, had also forced his way into the ODI side after John Hastings was ruled out by injury.

Brad Haddin's retirement from Twenty20 cricket last week and an injury to stand-in Tim Paine paved the way for a promotion for Victoria state wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade in the Cameron White-captained T20 squad.

Mitchell Marsh, a 19-year-old all-rounder, had also been included after a solid tour for Australia A in Zimbabwe, Hilditch said.

Johnson has retained his place in the Michael Clarke-led one-day squad which will play a three-match series after the T20 matches, meaning he will likely be in the frame for the following two-match Test series despite his form slump.

The swing bowler took 16 wickets at an average of 25 in the Australians' 2-1 victory over hosts South Africa in the 2009 Test series and Troy Cooley, the interim coach, said getting the erratic bowler back into the groove was a top priority.

"I will be picking up quite quickly with [bowling coach] Craig McDermott and Michael Clarke on what transpired over there [in Sri Lanka] ... and make sure Mitchell Johnson is up and running," he said yesterday.