Johnson may be used as a pinch hitter in the middle order: Ponting

March 27th, 2009 - 4:54 pm ICT by ANI  

Johannesburg, Mar 27 (ANI): Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has said that tailender Mitchell Johnson may be used as a pinch hitter in the middle order in Friday’s Twenty20 clash at the Wanderers.

Johnson’s clean hitting and aggression helped him to post 96 not out in the Johannesburg Test last month and then an unbeaten 123 in last week’s Cape Town Test.

Ponting said Johnson upset the rhythm of the South African bowlers purely through being a leftie, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

“We don’t really know yet. All our batting order floats in a Twenty20 game anyway. You are after flexibility,” Ponting said when asked about shifting Johnson in the batting order.

“You want guys to be able to change their own games to fit into their different situation and circumstances in the team. We’ve known for a long time Mitch is more than capable of taking any bowler down at any time,” he said.

Johnson hit two fours and three sixes in an over bowled by South Africa spinner Paul Harris in the first Test in Johannesburg. His maiden Test century last week came off just 86 balls.

“He’s someone who could definitely float up and down the order for us,” Ponting said.

“The other thing is that left-handed/right-handed combinations in 20-over cricket play a pretty big part as well. It just gives the bowlers no opportunity to settle in and puts extra pressure on their variations and things. That’s where his going up and down the order could probably work most effectively.”

Australia has named a 16-man squad for their Twenty20 clashes on Friday and Sunday (at Centurion). (ANI)

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