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“I don’t think he’s got anything to prove and his form has been really great”
Australia Twenty20 captain George Bailey has announced he has “no doubt” that left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Johnson will make his Ashes comeback during the second leg of the historic series, which gets underway on November 21.
Johnson, who has taken 205 Test wickets, did not feature in the recently concluded Ashes series, in which Australia were dominated 3-0 by arch-rivals England.
“Absolutely,” Bailey said when asked if Johnson should be included in the Ashes squad. “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.
“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. That’s what we are after with our Twenty20 cricket — we want match winners.”
Johnson is also not the butt of jokes anymore as during the 2010-11 Ashes series he was constantly targeted by the England fans, which seriously affected his bowling and resulted in him getting dropped.
Australia opening batsman David Warner has now usurped Johnson, especially after he punched England batsman Joe Root at the Walkabout bar in Birmingham during the Champions Trophy in June.
“I don’t know (who will get more attention from the crowd), it will be a toss-up,” Bailey said with a wry smile on his face. “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.”