Adelaide (Australia), July 22 (ANI): Former Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie believes it is quite hard to reverse a crisis of form mid-series but has come out in support of Mitchell Johnson by saying: "I'd play him and I'd give him support."
Johnson's erratic bowling is the most pressing of the many concerns for Australia following the 115-run loss at Lord's, and while Ricky Ponting sought to reassure his star pace man, the Australian captain did not go so far as to confirm his place in the team for the third Test at Edgbaston.
That decision will be left until after a three-day match at Northampton from Friday when Johnson is expected to be given one last chance to restore the faith of the captain, coach and touring selector Jamie Cox.
"We have to be careful with the way we manage him over the next little bit but he is up for the challenge," Ponting said.
"He is continually working on trying to make himself better in all aspects of his game, and he will continue to do that this week. Hopefully, we see some improvement down in Northampton if he manages to play that game, and it would be great to see him get a bit more confidence and rhythm. Of course I can see him playing. It was only a couple of weeks ago that he was bowling as well as anyone going around," said Ponting.
The responsibility for tending to Johnson's malaise will rest with bowling coach Troy Cooley, who has known him since he was a shy teenager.
It is doubtful the highly rated pace guru has had a more important job since he was poached from England after the 2005 Ashes.
Gillespie, who was dropped for the fourth Test of that series, urged the team hierarchy to show faith in him to rebuild his fragile self-confidence.
"He needs to have someone he trusts, and I assume that man is Troy Cooley. He's employed as the bowling coach, and he's there for this reason. I'd play him and I'd give him support. Show a bit of leadership and say, 'We support you, Mitch,' put some trust in him that he will come back and bowl well in the next Test," said Gillespie.
"He [Johnson] will have to play in Northampton because he does have to iron out some things, and I think he should go back and look at some footage of the good times so that he starts to believe he can get through this," he added. (ANI)