Tour of the UAE v Pakistan
Lehmann backs star duo for UAE
Coach confident Johnson, Clarke will be fit
28 September 2014, 05:32 PM AEST
Darren Lehmann says there is no chance Mitchell Johnson will miss the Test series against Pakistan, as Australia prepare to rejig their bowling attack.
Johnson was withdrawn from the Oppo Champions League Twenty20 on Friday due to a rib injury, but will fly out with the national squad for the tour of the United Arab Emirates.
Quick Single: Johnson ruled out of Champions League
The absence of the left-armer would be a major blow to Lehmann's side, given the leading role he played in recent Test series wins against South Africa and England.
But Lehmann allayed fears that Johnson was in any doubt for the first Test that starts on October 22.
"He'll be fine to go. Expect him to play the one-dayers, obviously not the T20 but the one-dayers and the Test series," Lehmann said prior to the team's departure on Sunday.
"We're lucky enough that in terms of the prep, he did a fair bit of bowling before (getting injured), so it won't be an issue."
Lehmann is likewise upbeat that hamstrung captain Michael Clarke will be fit and firing for the opening Test.
"I'm confident, he's confident - and that's about where it is at the moment," Lehmann said.
"The tour game (on October 15-18) will be the telling time I suppose, getting him out and playing that ... but I'm pretty confident he'll play."
Quick Single: Younis set to miss Test series
Even if Clarke and Johnson play, Australia will field a significantly different XI to that which pipped South Africa in their most recent Test.
Allrounder Shane Watson and pacemen Ryan Harris and James Pattinson are all out due to injury.
Mitch Marsh and Stephen O'Keefe are both well placed to make Test debuts as Lehmann ponders whether to play two tweakers on the spin-friendly decks.
Quick Single: All-round Marsh making his mark
"We always pick according to the conditions," Lehmann said.
"It's an Australian curator for the first Test, so it could be a decent wicket."
Off-spinner Nathan Lyon could be set for some marathon spells, while Peter Siddle will return with Lehmann wanting the lion-hearted Victorian to be both spearhead and workhorse.
"He's put on some weight, put on some muscle... his speed is up," Lehmann said of Siddle, who was dropped for the side's last-start Test in Cape Town.
"The hardest thing is how many overs they can bowl in the heat."
Lehmann said the extreme heat could potentially tip the selection debate in O'Keefe's favour.
"I've been there before and they (pacemen) can only bowl three or four over spells sometimes," Lehmann said.
The tour starts with a T20 clash on October 6 in Dubai.