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Mitchell Johnson calls for 'dramatic change' amid glaring issue for Aussie Test team

The fast-bowling great has penned his latest column about the Australian cricket team.

Mitchell Johnson.
Mitchell Johnson has called for a summer of change, with a number of Aussie Test veterans entering the final chapter of their careers. Image: Getty

Mitchell Johnson has called on Australian cricket selectors to use upcoming Test series against Pakistan and the West Indies to usher in the next generation. The Aussies will tackle Pakistan and the Windies in separate three-Test series this summer, with David Warmer set to retire after the Pakistan series.

But according to Johnson, Warner shouldn't be the only veteran thinking about moving on. As the fast-bowling great pointed out, eight of the XI who are expected to be picked for the first Test are 32 or older.

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Warner's opening partner Usman Khawaja is 36, while spinner Nathan Lyon is 35. Steve Smith is 34 and Mitchell Starc 33, meaning the Aussie side will inevitably face a period of change over the next few years.

Mitchell said this summer is the perfect chance to blood young West Australian speedster Lance Morris, especially at home at Optus Stadium in the first Test. “This summer is a great opportunity to blood some young or performing players, especially when it’s against two teams in Pakistan and the West Indies who have struggled in Australia for a decent period of time,” Johnson wrote in his latest column for The West Australian.

“Fast bowler Lance Morris, 25, should be the first of those. With Perth likely to present a fast and bouncy pitch, there would be no better place for the young tearaway to steam in for his Test debut.

“It’s funny remembering back to when I was injured at 30 and trying to get myself back into the team. I was hearing plenty of noise that 30 was too old as a fast bowler and that it was an age when you have peaked or are starting to slide out of your best form.

“Spots are up for grabs as the Australian Test team prepares to enter a period of dramatic change. It’s the building of the future that Australia must be looking at.”

Johnson's latest comments come after he sparked a firestorm last week when he declared Warner shouldn't be in the Test team at all, let alone receive a farewell at the SCG. Johnson labelled the veteran opener "disrespectful" and "arrogant", which he later admitted was too personal.

Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith and David Warner.
Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith and David Warner are all in the twilight of their cricket careers. (Photo by Matt King - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images/Getty Images) (Cricket Australia via Getty Imag)

Aussie cricket veterans have no plans to walk away yet

There are no doubts the Test side is ageing and entering the final chapter of its time together, but a number of veterans have revealed no plans to step away just yet. Smith's manager once again shut down rumours about his pending retirement last week, while Khawaja said he'll keep playing as long as he feels up to it.

Warner has previously revealed a pact with Khawaja that they wouldn't retire at or around the same time, while Khawaja said recently: "I’m still really enjoying the games, I don’t really have a finishing line. It’s not about what age I’m at, it’s more about the factors, if one of them drops off, then I’ll think maybe it’s time. It just hasn’t dropped off yet.

“There are some things that are out of your control, like how the body’s going. It’s also how the mind is. Are you able to go to competitive training every day? The hard yards that you did 10 years ago, are you still doing that?"

Lyon even made the staggering call that he's planning on playing the next Ashes series in England in 2027 - when he would be 39. The off-spinner recently revealed that a calf injury he suffered in this year's Ashes series has made him even hungrier to go back.

“I feel like having this injury, coming home and watching the guys play the three Test matches has really driven me to get back there and make sure I’m back playing cricket," he said. “My hunger for the game has probably gone to a new level, this has allowed me to have a little bit more time off during my rehab, sit back, reflect and reset some goals and find a really decent purpose for me. I’m definitely not writing off going back to England for the Ashes… the finish line for me hasn’t even popped up in my eyesight yet, I’ve still got a lot of cricket left in me in my eyes and a lot to offer the Renegades (in the BBL), NSW cricket but also Australia.”

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