Johnson hopeful of being fit for Tests
Mitchell Johnson is confident he will be fit for the Test series against Pakistan in July despite an elbow infection that has ruled him out of the opening part of Australia's tour. The Australians fly out on Friday to begin their trip with six ODIs against England and Ireland, and Johnson has been replaced in the squad by Josh Hazlewood.
Australia are already without the wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for the one-dayers and he is no certainty for the two Tests against Pakistan at Lord's and Headingley. However, Johnson is hopeful of being available to spearhead the attack.
"It's a bit of an elbow infection that flared up again after the West Indies," Johnson told the Sydney radio station 2UE. "It's not something that really I'm enjoying at the moment, to miss out on a tour for the Australian team, but hopefully I can get it right here and then be back over there for the Twenty20s and Test matches.
"I hope [it's not long-term]. I've seen some specialists yesterday or the day before and got their opinions. Hopefully they've given me the right stuff to heal it up. Fingers crossed and hopefully I'll be back out there soon."
Johnson's absence has opened the door for the 19-year-old New South Wales fast man Hazlewood, who was supposed to be representing Australia A this month. His plans have been upgraded and he will jet off to Ireland with the senior squad under Ricky Ponting.
"It's all pretty exciting, it's all happening pretty quickly," Hazlewood told AAP. "I'm just hoping to learn a lot from the fast bowlers over there and maybe get a little time with the ball."
Should Hazlewood make his ODI debut during the series, he will be Australia's youngest ever one-day international debutant. In November 2008 he became the youngest fast bowler to play for New South Wales, and stepping on to the international stage would provide a thrill for the residents of Bendemeer, the country town from which he hails.
"It's a pretty quiet little town of about 300 people just out of Tamworth," Hazlewood said. "They'll be over the moon I reckon. There's been a few good stars from Tamworth but none from Bendemeer."