Sydney - Paceman Mitchell Johnson was ruled out of the Twenty20 World Cup by an infected big toe on Sunday in a blow to Australia's hopes of snaring the one major international trophy they have never won.
The 32-year-old, the form bowler in world cricket at the moment, will be replaced by fellow left-arm quick Doug Bollinger for the March 16-April 6 tournament in Bangladesh.
Johnson fired Australia to a 5-0 Ashes sweep over the New Year and a 2-1 test series triumph in South Africa over the last few weeks but cut the big toe on his right foot in the third test against the Proteas.
The initial prognosis was that his departure for Bangladesh would only be delayed but Johnson had not made the sort of progress originally envisioned.
“We have given Mitchell as long as we can but unfortunately his infection hasn't responded to the treatment as quickly as we had hoped with swelling remaining in his toe and foot,” Cricket Australia's Dr Justin Paoloni said in a news release on Sunday.
“It is difficult to say how quickly the infection will take to resolve and due to the high risk of infection recurrence with a return to bowling we feel it is in the best interests of Mitchell's health for him to continue to receive intensive treatment in Perth.”
Bollinger, 32, has played just two Twenty20s for Australia, against South Africa in 2011, but brings a wealth of experience of the shortest form of the game in the sub-continent courtesy of his time in the Indian Premier League.
“Unfortunately Mitchell Johnson has been ruled out of the ICC World Twenty20,” head selector John Inverarity said.
“This is disappointing news as it was anticipated that Mitch would have a significant impact with his pace and menace.
“Doug Bollinger has been called into the squad to replace Mitchell.
“Doug has had significant experience in the sub-continent and in international white ball cricket and his ability to bowl with good pace was a factor in his selection.”
All-rounder James Faulkner, who missed the test tour of South Africa because of knee surgery, was another injury doubt but is expected to be fit to play.
Australia open their campaign against Pakistan in Mirpur on March 23. – Reuters