Johnson now has new destination

ROCKHAMPTON cricket fans have been deprived of the talents of Queensland Bulls speed machine Mitchell Johnson this weekend.

Johnson, 23, yesterday joined the Australia A touring party for Pakistan and will miss the Suncorp XXXX Gold Bulls Country Challenge starting at the Rockhampton Cricket Grounds tomorrow.

The Bulls' city and country teams will play a 50-over match tomorrow followed by a Twenty20 showdown on Sunday.

Johnson's country team-mate, Gold Coast leg-spinner Daniel Doran, was also a late withdrawal yesterday after accepting an offer as a net bowler with the Australian team in England.

Their unavailability has opened the door for Rockhampton junior cricketers Liam Kelly, Nick Hills and Paul O'Shea, who have been selected as back-up players, to get a start.

Former Australian fast bowler Andy Bichel will arrive in Rockhampton today under an injury cloud, but is expected to play a role over the weekend.

Bichel suffered a hamstring injury playing for Hampshire in England last weekend and may be confined to just batting duties.

The Bulls' tour starts with a sportsman's dinner at the Frenchville Sports Club tonight.



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