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Mitchell Johnson


Bailey expects fired up Johnson

Mitchell Johnson has a spring in his step, the Ashes in his sights and George Bailey wants him to be a major factor in their one-day series with India.

Bailey says Johnson's natural pace and swing will be essential for Australia to get on top in their quest for the ODI No.1 ranking, which they will claim should they prevail 5-2 in the seven-match series.

And should the eclectic left-arm paceman deliver on his captain's expectations, a crack at the England Test team - and a chance to silence the Barmy Army - could follow.

QUICK SINGLE: VB Tour of India schedule

Johnson's push for an Ashes berth looks set to begin in Pune on Sunday, after Bailey confirmed he was a likely starter for the series-opening clash after he was rested from Thursday's Twenty20 loss in Rajkot.

Seemingly on the outer having played just four Tests in the past two years, Johnson's appeal grew after an eye-catching ODI series against England in September and a raft of injuries to a number of quicks in the Ashes frame.

Johnson finished the series with five wickets at an average of 28.2 - but drew high praise from Australian great Glenn McGrath after a fierce spell of 2-21 in the final match.

McGrath called for Johnson's inclusion for the opening Test at the Gabba - a feat which will be helped by a successful Indian tour.

"I was really, really impressed with his bowling in England," Bailey said on Saturday.

"He was outstanding for us and (I expect) much the same of him here.

"His assets are his pace, which is always an asset over here and is certainly something we'll try to use at really important stages of the game.

"He can swing the ball at the start of the innings which can be really important here as well.

"I guess those two things are what we're hoping to see from him."

Johnson is fresh from helping the Mumbai Indians take out the Champions League Twenty20 tournament over the Rajasthan Royals earlier this month.

Not wanting to overload the 31-year-old bowler, Bailey left Johnson out of the six-wicket loss in Rajkot.

But Johnson bowled with good pace in Australia's only net session at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune and looks set to be included.

QUICK SINGLE: Training spotting in Pune

"It was more precautionary that he sat out the other day, given the seven games in a relatively short space of time," Bailey said.

"We've given him every opportunity to come up.

"I think he'll have a light bowl today but we're certainly expecting him to be right."

Australia will be forced to bring in a batsman from the side which contested the T20, with Nic Maddinson not included in the one-day squad.

Phil Hughes appears the natural replacement.

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

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