Johnson might play, says Nielsen

All-rounder James Hopes and pace spearhead Brett Lee already ruled out of Wednesday’s second game, there is also a question mark over left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson, who is suffering from a left ankle injury.

“It was a bit of a scatter-bomb yesterday for us. I don’t remember a team losing three bowlers in one day. It was an unusual circumstance,” admitted Nielsen on Tuesday, though the fact that Johnson isn’t completely out of the equation came as a bit of a relief for him.
“Mitchell has woken up a lot better today morning than we thought he would be when we drafted him in the media release yesterday evening. It’s really pleasing to see him get up today and shine. We will see how he pulls up through the training session today. All indications are that he might be available tomorrow morning.” Johnson, however, didn’t bowl at nets.

Admitting that the Australian bowling looked short on experience without Lee and Johnson, Nielsen said it was an opportunity for the younger players to learn.

“We certainly are inexperienced in that area. If Mitchell and Brett can’t play, then we are losing about 300 matches in ODIs in terms of their experience.

“We are talking about six or seven (games) between Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger, so that is one of the issues we are facing, and Hopes has played 60 or 70 games as well. 350 games out is quite a chance.

“Having said that, the only way young players learn and get better is from being exposed to top-class cricket. You can practice all the yorkers in the nets but it is so difficult to bowl to someone like Sachin or Harbhajan when they are on a roll and the crowd is behind them,” he elaborated.

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