DHAKA - Australia will miss injured paceman Mitchell Johnson but their bowling attack remains potent enough to help them win a maiden World Twenty20 title in Bangladesh, captain George Bailey said on Tuesday. The left-arm quick has been in the form of his life, bowling Australia to an Ashes whitewash of bitter rivals England followed by an impressive performance in the subsequent test series victory in South Africa.
A toe infection, however, means Australia will miss Johnson's unnerving pace and the disconcerting bounce he generates from difficult angles as they bid for the only major cricket trophy to have eluded them. Fellow left-arm paceman Doug Bollinger has been called up as Johnson's replacement and Bailey backed him to be a success in Bangladesh. "We'll miss Mitch, no doubt about that," Bailey told reporters.
"Just looking at his form over the last six months, he's been absolutely unbelievable for us. The last time he was in the subcontinent in the one-day series against India in October, he was really good there. But having said that, (in) Doug Bollinger, as his replacement, I think we're really lucky to have that sort of back up. I think Doug's in great touch. He has got some good Twenty20 form and pedigree behind himself and he has got good pace and swings the ball. These are the things which I think would be handy over here."
Australia begin their Group B campaign against Pakistan on March 23, boasting a batting order replete with exciting strokemakers including David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson and the captain himself. Bailey was equally pleased with the variety in the bowling department.
"I'm really happy with the pace battery. In the subcontinent conditions, it's important to have really good pace, to have guys swing the ball. With the addition of Doug, I think in Mitchell Starc and Nathan Coulter-Nile, we've got three guys who bowl at really good pace and swing the ball. That's really important for us. I guess another important thing is you've to finish it well in the other end and all these guys have great skills at death (bowling)."
Spin bowlers are expected to play a crucial role in Bangladesh's slow and low wickets and Bailey said he was spoilt for choice in that department. "I think we got all bases covered. Brad Hogg... guess he's been around for 30 years. James Muirhead is a really exciting leg-spinner for us. I love the option of having leg-spinners. I think they are match-winners, wicket-takers. They force batsmen to do something different. I think we've got a lot of part-time and back-up spinners. Glenn Maxwell has done a really good job for us in Twenty20 bowling. He's probably no longer a part-time spinner, plays a main role for us. Finch bowls a little bit of leg spin, Cameron White bowls a little bit of leg-spin... we've got plenty of options there."