Cricket Australia

http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/news/2013/9/17/mcgrath-backs-johnson-for-ashes-recall

McGrath backs Johnson for Ashes recall

UPDATED 17 September, 2013 8:03PM AEDT | by AAP 12

He bowls to the left, he bowls to the right, but Mitchell Johnson's bowling is, at the moment, actually quite alright.

So much so that Australia's most successful paceman Glenn McGrath is calling for his recall in the summer's home Ashes and national team coach Darren Lehmann is leaving the door open.

Johnson, 31, missed selection for the 3-0 Ashes series defeat in England and played just once in the miserable 4-0 series defeat in India earlier this year, but rediscovered his pace and zest in the subsequent one-day series which Australia clinched 2-1 with a 49-run win in Southampton on Monday.

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Johnson finished with 2-21 from 10 overs in the victory, his most miserly effort in international cricket, and became just the fifth Australian to snare 200 ODI wickets - joining McGrath, Shane Warne, Craig McDermott and Brett Lee in the elite club.

His improved form impressed McGrath who tweeted: "@MitchJohnson398 is bowling incredibly well. He has to play in the Ashes!!"

Johnson's form was a welcome sight for Lehmann, especially as Australia's fast bowling stocks have been cruelled by back injuries in recent months.

Young star Pat Cummins will miss a third consecutive home summer, while Mitchell Starc is long odds to be involved.

James Pattinson and Jackson Bird both left the recent Ashes campaign early with back complaints but Cricket Australia remains optimistic about their recovery.

The serious shortage of healthy quicks ensures Johnson, and his 51 Tests worth of experience, is bound to be considered.

Lehmann has dangled an Ashes carrot, saying if Johnson continues to impress in the upcoming one-day series in India he could find himself front and centre for the opening Ashes Test in Brisbane on 21 November.

"He bowled fast the whole time and as long as he is consistent that is all he has to do so I am really impressed with him," Lehmann told AAP.

"He has put a strong case but he has got to keep backing that up like every other player. They have got to perform and perform at the level we need to compete against good sides.

"He has got to go to India and we have got a couple of Shield games before the first Test so that will be important for him to bowl well in those games.

"Then the selection panel will sit down and work out what the best XI is for that Test.

"He is confident."

Australia went their separate ways on Tuesday as the tour party to the United Kingdom broke up after nearly four months away.

The one-day players will regroup for the series in India which starts in Rajkot on 10 October with a T20 before they play seven 50-over games.

Those involved in 50-over and Test cricket such as Michael Clarke and Shane Watson will then have two Shield games to reunite with red ball cricket.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 17 September, 2013 2:30PM AEDT

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