Johnson: Khawaja can shine
Fast bowler backs uncapped batsman to step up
Last Updated: 23/11/10 7:16am
Khawaja: Could replace Clarke
Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson has backed Usman Khawaja to shine if called upon for the Ashes opener in Brisbane.
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Uncapped Khawaja was added to the squad on Monday as cover for Michael Clarke and retained in the 13-man squad for the Gabba.
And although the Pakistan-born batsman struggled in the Australia A defeat to England, Johnson believe he can deliver the goods if Clarke fails to recover from his injured back.
"I don't think we'll be a lesser side," Johnson said.
"Usman has come in and he has had a magnificent year, as he did last season.
"He is not as experienced as Michael.
"But we make everyone feel comfortable; everyone is worth their spot when they come in.
"Whether or not Michael makes it, there's always someone pushing him to do his best."
Despite his faith in Khawaja, Johnson does believe Clarke should be fit to play after he came through a net session on Tuesday.
Johnson said: "I think he batted for about 45 minutes, and he says he's pulled up pretty well from it.
"He's still got another two days to prove himself. But he said he felt pretty good with what he did, so it's good signs for him and Australia.
"Not having Michael in the team would be a big loss, but he's been doing everything he can to get right."