Pink ball shield match not ideal preparation for Test: Johnson

Sydney, Oct 14 (IANS) Australia pacer Mitchell Johnson said on Wednesday that playing a round of day-night Sheffield Shield matches is not the ideal preparation for next month’s Test series against New Zealand.

Australia’s Test players will turn out for their respective state sides in the opening round of the Sheffield Shield from October 28, their only first class fixture before the series against the Black Caps gets underway on November 5. The day-night Shield round will act as preparation for the historic pink ball Test in Adelaide, which starts on November 27.

Johnson opted to withhold his opinion of the day-night Test until later in the summer, but expressed his disappointment at having to play Shield cricket with a pink ball so close to the opening Test at the Gabba, a day Test match to be played with the traditional red ball.

With Australia’s tour of Bangladesh postponed and the country’s leading cricketers currently competing in the Matador One-Day Cup, Johnson said players were in desperate need of match practice with the red ball.

While a two-day camp in Sydney this week has given the Test squad some practice against the red ball, Johnson said it’s not enough.

“I don’t think it’s ideal us playing a day-night Shield (match) coming into a three-Test series, two of them with a red ball and one with a pink ball,” Johnson was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

“I don’t think it’s ideal. Especially with guys missing out on Bangladesh and needing to bowl with the red ball. We’re playing this (camp) now, then I’m going down to Tassie to play with a pink ball (in the Shield). I don’t think it’s the best preparation but I guess that’s why we had this camp as well, to get a bit of a feel with the red ball again.”

Johnson played a straight bat when asked for his thoughts on the day-night Test at the Adelaide Oval — as he’d done when asked about the new concept in June — but forecast he would not be shy in sharing his opinion later in the summer.

“Maybe I’ll just keep that until that Test match,” he said.

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