Bailey backs Johnson for Ashes return

Last Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 13:17

London: Australia Twenty20 captain George Bailey has backed Mitchell Johnson to return to Test duty when Ashes hostilities are resumed `Down Under` in November.

Left-arm fast bowler Johnson did not feature in the Australia side that suffered a 3-0 Ashes series defeat in England but has been selected in the squad for the forthcoming limited-overs series, starting with the first Twenty20 international at Southampton on Thursday.

Johnson became a figure of fun among England fans in recent Ashes because of his often wayward deliveries but Bailey insisted the 31-year-old`s raw pace, which has helped him take 205 Test wickets, meant he could yet return to the five-day format.

"Absolutely. I`ve no doubt they (the selectors) would have Mitch in their sights for a couple of those (Ashes) games particularly given the grounds and his record at some of those grounds," Bailey said.

"I don`t think he`d ever be too far from the selectors` minds.

"I don`t think he`s got anything to prove and his form has been really great.

"I thought he bowled really well in his last couple of one-day games for us. He`s not too much fun to face in the nets so hopefully he brings that aggression.

"There`s no doubt someone like him who can bowl as quick as he can and swing the ball at the top of the order can break a game open," Bailey added.

"That`s what we are after with our Twenty20 cricket -- we want matchwinners."

Johnson`s status as the man the England fans love to pick on has been usurped by batsman David Warner in recent months following his Birmingham bar-room attack on England`s Joe Root in June.

"I don`t know (who will get more attention from the crowd), it will be a toss-up," said a smiling Bailey.

"Talking to Mitch he`s grown with it. He`s come to enjoy it. It`s part and parcel of cricket. I thought Davey handled it well and played up to the crowd nicely. That`s one of the great things about playing in England -- the interaction with the crowd. From all reports it`s going to be a bumper crowd."

Australia have not won a competitive international fixture in any format since completing a one-day series whitewash of the West Indies in Melbourne on February 10 -- a run that will have lasted exactly 200 days when they meet England at Southampton.

"They say winning is a habit and I tend to agree with that," said Bailey.

"It`s pretty blatant what we want to do. We plan to win. It`s the same regardless of what has happened in the past."

AFP



First Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 13:17

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