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Mitchell to Mitchell: Johnson passes baton

The enforcer from the last home Ashes says his namesake is ready to take centre stage in England's nightmares

Mitchell Johnson has backed his namesake to replicate the potent mix of express pace, bounce and hostility that led to England spectacularly unravelling four years ago.

Johnson snared 37 wickets while leading Australia to a 5-0 victory in 2013-14, the most-recent Ashes series on Australian soil.

Watch all of Johnson's 37 Ashes wickets

Mitchell Starc, who will ramp up his return from a foot injury during a day-night JLT Sheffield Shield clash from Friday at the Adelaide Oval, has already vowed to pepper England with a bouncer barrage.

"Starcy is pretty keen on it. From a few text messages he's (sent, he is) definitely keen," Johnson told reporters in Perth.

"We know Starcy can bowl fast, deadly bouncers. Pat Cummins will bowl fast, deadly bouncers.

"They've got all their change-ups as well. Starc can bowl an amazing yorker."

Starc, Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith and David Warner will feature in a star-studded NSW Blues side who face the West End Redbacks in somewhat of a dress rehearsal for the inaugural Ashes day-night Test at the same venue.

'Best lead-in for an Ashes we've ever had'

Warner suggested Starc could terrorise England's batsmen throughout the five-Test series that starts on November 23 in Brisbane, especially with the pink ball at Adelaide Oval.

"I get the luxury of facing him every single net session with the new ball. It's quite difficult when he's swinging the ball," Warner said on Tuesday.

"When he gets that right in Adelaide, come the second Test, he's going to be a nightmare for their players."

Australia have sorely missed Starc since the spearhead's injury breakdown in March during the Test tour of India. The left-armer has generally been Smith's go-to man whenever the skipper is hunting a breakthrough.

That is set to be the case during next month's Ashes opener at the Gabba, although Smith is confident Cummins can also create some Johnson-like headaches.

"The Gabba has been a bit of a fortress for Australian cricket for a long period of time. Last Ashes series we played out here, we really set the tone in that first Test," Smith told reporters at the launch of his biography 'The Journey'.

"Hopefully, a couple of our quicks can replicate some of what Mitchell (Johnson) did back then."

Smith, also on the comeback from a minor shoulder injury, faced Starc last Saturday during a centre-wicket practice.

"He was swinging the ball which is fantastic. Left-armers who bowl at good pace and swing the ball are a great weapon," he said.

Johnson, Warner and Smith all spoke at length about the importance of the opening three Shield rounds that will shape who claims two spots up for grabs in the Test XI.

"I certainly have my eye out," Smith said.

"Knowing there might be a few positions up for grabs, it puts a little bit of pressure on. We like seeing guys perform under pressure."

Warner backed NSW teammate Daniel Hughes to shine after earning the nod for the Shield opener ahead of Ed Cowan.

Cowan's dumping was seen as a controversial move given the former Test opener had been the leading run scorer for the 2016-17 season that ended last March.

"I think he (Hughes) is an exceptional talent, a very good, clean hitter of the ball," Warner said.

"He's got a lot of patience and he hits the ball 360 degrees. I'm excited to see him in action.

"Of what I've seen of him, definitely (is a potential Test player).

"He's got composure, he's patient and he really gets into his innings as we saw during the JLT Cup. His form is great and hopefully he can keep progressing that into the Shield.

"(Cowan) played fantastic last year (but) obviously they've given an opportunity to Hughesy to take the form from the JLT Cup into the Shield season. Good luck to Hughesy this week."

Hughes, a 28-year-old left-hander, was the JLT One-Day Cup's fourth leading run-scorer with 379 runs at 63.16 and formed a potent opening combination with Nic Maddinson, who scored 398 runs at 66.33. Both players hit two centuries during the tournament.

Hughes also added a double century for Mosman in NSW Premier Cricket last weekend.

Cowan scored 146 runs at 36.5 in NSW's six JLT Cup games, with two fifties, and in one first-grade game this season scored 22.