Ponting backs Johnson
Australia captain Ricky Ponting claims Mitchell Johnson is still in ahead of Shaun Tait in the fast bowling queue for a place in their Test XI.
Last Updated: 19/12/07 3:00pm
Australia skipper Ricky Ponting says left-armer Mitchell Johnson is ahead of Shaun Tait in the pecking order for a place in the Test side.
Tait had returned from injury to play for the one-day side as looks like forming a formidable pace partnership with fellow speedstar Brett Lee.
Tait has starred during the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy against New Zealand as Johnson has had to watch from the sidelines as 12th man.
Despite Tait's recent run, Ponting says that Johnson is still ahead in the reckoning for a Test spot, as Australia prepare to face India.
"I guess Taity is more established in one-day cricket than Test cricket so that's why he's back into the one-day team," Ponting told The Australian.
"The roles are probably reversed, as far as Test cricket goes."
"Tait was our best bowler in the World Cup and he went out injured.
"Once he was fit and ready to go again, it was probably fair that he came back into the side.
"The way I look at those sorts of things is that when Symo (Andrew Symonds) went out of the World Cup team and Hodge came in and did well, Symonds had to come back into the side.
"Tait deserved his chance after the World Cup and other games he's played for Australia to come back into the team."
The Australian skipper admits it has been a little hard on Johnson, but says he will retain his place in the Test team despite losing out to Tait in the one-dayers..
"It's a tough game, there's no doubt about that," Ponting added.
"You've got to make tough calls and tough selections at different points through a summer and unfortunately for Mitchell, this summer, so far, it hasn't gone to plan for him with the selections.
"But he's still, obviously, in the Test team.
"I thought the two Test matches he played against Sri Lanka at the start of the summer were outstanding. He got better almost over by over. He bowled very well down here (in Hobart) in the second innings.
"We feel, at the moment, that our best balance is to have Tait in the one-day team."