Mitchell Johnson wants Australia to include Adam Zampa for Perth ODI
Zampa has 42 ODI wickets from 31 games. (Getty Image)

Former Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson has vouched for legspinner Adam Zampa’s inclusion in the Australia‘s Playing XI for the first ODI against South Africa at Perth on Sunday. The redone WACA surface has hosted just four matches last summer, and while the idea of Australia playing four pacers on the bouncy surface is a luring option, Johnson feels three quicks and one spinner should be the way forward.

“Four (fast) bowlers is always nice,” Johnson, who turned 37 on Friday, said. “But I just think for the balance of the side, having Zampa there with his variation it is good for Australia. In any team you need a spinner to break things up. With that extra bit of bounce here, Zampa, the way he bowls, I think it would be a good wicket for him to play on.”

Zampa has played 31 ODIs for Australia and taken 42 wickets at an average of 34.73 but his leg spin has shown glimpses of promise and troubled the best batsmen. The last time Australia played at Perth, Zampa finished with 1 for 46 from his 10 overs against England. But while Zampa’s inclusion is debateable, one area where Australia would have no headaches is the pace attack. Mitchell Johnson seems to have recovered from his hamstring and the returning Josh Hazlewood will be keen on proving that he is match fit. However, despite Starc looking good during the practice session, Johnson pointed out that he shouldn’t be rushed back in, even if he is slightly bothered.

“If he’s not 100 per cent I wouldn’t pick him,” Johnson said. “It would be nice for him to play but I just think if he’s got that little niggle there, there is a long road ahead. He’s just come back from the UAE where it’s quite hot conditions, the wickets are flat.”

“It really did test him, and I think if he wants to get through a summer he needs to be 100 per cent right. I want to see him back to his best. I don’t think he’s too far away, but they need to be smart about his selection.”

The first ODI between Australia and South Africa takes place on Sunday.