Johnson ready to lead injury-hit Scorchers

Dec 21, 2017 - 4:30 PM Australian speedster Mitchell Johnson says he's ready and willing to spearhead the Perth Scorchers' pace attack again following the franchise's horror run on the injury front.

Johnson initially expected to take a backward seat this BBL season to allow the likes of Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson, and Joel Paris to take centre stage.

But those plans have been thrown out the window because of an injury crisis.

Behrendorff and Coulter-Nile are both nursing back injuries, while Paris has been laid low for most of the domestic season.

Coulter-Nile could return for the Boxing Day clash with Melbourne Stars at the WACA, but Behrendorff might not be back until just before the finals.

"A few months ago when I signed on, I said to the boys, 'I'm going to have a pretty good seat in the dugout watching you guys perform'," Johnson said ahead of Saturday's clash with the Sixers at the SCG.

"That's not the way it's going to be this year anymore.

"I'm really happy to take on that (lead) role again if required. It's something that I'm used to, so I'm pretty comfortable with it.

"It's just a bit of a shame for some of the injured guys who have worked hard. Hopefully those guys can come back."

The Scorchers will also have to defend their title without a host of their best batters.

Shaun Marsh, Mitch Marsh, and Cameron Bancroft are on international duties, while Michael Klinger's availability is in doubt following his wife's cancer diagnosis.

Wicketkeeper Sam Whiteman may miss the entire tournament with an ongoing finger injury.

Scorchers coach Justin Langer revealed he may have as few as nine players available from the franchise's 18-man contract list for the first game against the Sixers.

It means batsmen Will Bosisto and Josh Philippe are likely to be added to the team from outside the squad.

Johnson was a revelation in the BBL last season, with his finest performance coming in the semi-final win over Melbourne Stars when he snared 3-3 from three overs.

The 36-year-old said an important key to his success last season was not putting too much pressure on himself.

"Having a coach like Justin Langer helps as well," Johnson said.

"It's not so full-on. He just wants me to go out there and have fun, and not stress about it.

"I can get anxious if I feel like I haven't done enough work.

"I am one of those guys who will give 110 per cent, do all the training or feel I have to do more than I have to. But those days are gone."

Source: AAP

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