Mitchell Starc likely to replace injured Mitchell Johnson at SCG
Sydney, Jan 4 - Left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc is likely to take the place of injured quick Mitchell Johnson in a like-for-like replacement in the Australian team for the Sydney Test beginning on Tuesday.
Johnson, Australia's leading bowler, was ruled out of the match on Sunday due to hamstring soreness, paving the way for the comeback of the New South Wales pacer.
Another discarded seamer, Peter Siddle, is also in the running for a recall, as is spinner Ashton Agar.
"He is a strike bowler, so hopefully he could take up that mantle that Johnson has," opener Chris Rogers was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald Sunday.
"Maybe, in previous games when they've played together it's been a bit of a difficult thing for Starc because he hasn't quite known what his role has been. So if he does get that opportunity he will know exactly what he needs to do."
Rogers, however, said he would welcome Siddle's inclusion, too, if he gets the nod ahead of Starc.
"But in saying that I wouldn't mind seeing Sidds play, I'm a big fan and a fellow Victorian, so that would be nice as well."
Starc was dropped from the playing XI for the third Test in Melbourne for right-armer Ryan Harris. He has been in and out of the squad and was recently criticised by spin legend Shane Warne for being "a bit nice, soft and easy".
The 24-year-old responded to the criticism with impressive performances for the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League, where he picked up crucial wickets as well as bowled at a bristling pace.
"He's a pretty quiet bloke, he tends to keep to himself a little bit," Rogers said. "But I think those comments will sting him a little bit, but also I think they'd inspire him and if Warney is saying that, you're forced to listen.
"So I guess it's all about how he responds, so, hopefully, if he gets that opportunity he makes the most of it."