The Ashes 2013-14 October 31, 2013

Johnson released from India tour for Ashes prep

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Australia have enhanced their Ashes options while reducing the tourists' chances of closing out the ODI series against India by choosing to send Mitchell Johnson home early from the subcontinent, with the intention of aiding his preparation for the first Test against England in Brisbane.

Johnson's early departure from India will allow him the chance to play in two Sheffield Shield fixtures before the Gabba Test, and one match before the national selectors name their squad on November 12. "Mitch has performed very well in India," the team performance manager Pat Howard said. "However, we believe it is best for his preparation ahead of a busy summer to have him return home to increase his bowling loads in preparation for the Ashes Test window."

Though Johnson has impressed consistently in limited-overs fixtures for Australia in England and India since he missed selection for the last Ashes bout, it remains to be seen whether he can replicate white-ball form with the red. The reinstated Test bowling coach Craig McDermott can be expected to spend plenty of time with Johnson upon his arrival home from India, working to make sure he has a chance of bowling consistently well in Brisbane and beyond.

Australia's pace bowling order of preference has been shuffled due to injuries suffered by James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and Jackson Bird, but there remains some scepticism about Johnson's ability to bowl with the sustained intensity and accuracy demanded by the diligent approach of Australia's pacemen in England. To that end, he will now be available for the Shield match for Western Australia against South Australia at the WACA ground from November 6.

That match will allow McDermott and the selectors to gauge Johnson's first-class bowling before finalising the Brisbane squad. If selected, he will then be able to build further into form against the Redbacks in the return fixture at Adelaide Oval the week before the Gabba Test.

If Australia's Ashes prospects have been enhanced by a better lead-in for Johnson, their odds of winning the ODI series in India have now lengthened appreciably. Johnson has been Australia's most dangerous bowler across the series by a distance, even during Wednesday night's rousing Indian chase of 351 to win in Nagpur. Nathan Coulter-Nile can be expected to come in to the team for the series decider in Bangalore.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harmony111 on November 5, 2013, 1:54 GMT

    @Macker60:

    The rules were the same for both the teams in this series, isn't it? The wickets were the same too. Yet India chased 360 in 6th gear mode while Aus were struggling all the time to chase a much smaller 304 on a small Mohali ground. This is the difference between the teams. Aus scored 359 again and again India chased, they looked like chasing it all the time. There were some tense moments but never moments of any inevitable loss. In both these games India got BIG opening partnerships yet when India scored 383 & put Aus under pressure, they collapsed right from the start. Everyone was slogging in all directions and some were liable to score a few runs yet they were 209/8 & eventually never made it. This is the difference.

    Want more?

    In CT13's practice matches, India scored 300+ & bowled Aus out for 65 on the same wicket, lolz.

    @ScottStevo:

    When did I talk about India's test team? We too whipped you 4-0 so what's ur point? If we 25% outside India then explain CT13.

  • gaga001 on November 3, 2013, 2:50 GMT

    It is totally impossible to understand why Mitchell Johnson was called for Ashes, he was the spearhead of Australia's bowling attack, It indicates that Australian board does not regard india and australia series as official, i.e. he was in India for the first six matches and was playing here as he was playing warm up matches for Ashes, and suddenly their board realized Ashes is near so they called him back for Ashes preparation, I think it was serious series between India and Australia but the cricket board of Australia thought it otherwise, they were fighting for No.1 spot at one time, The Ashes was known to be the No.1 tournament after World cup but that is the history, Now the reality is that any tournament with India in any part of the world is a tournament which the whole world watches with excitement because India is world champion and they are the No. 1 team of the world, this thing Australian Cricket board will realize after the huge defeat of Australia of 57 runs in the final.

  • ScottStevo on November 3, 2013, 2:28 GMT

    @harmony111, India also got bowled out for 220 odd, only made 304 because Dhoni saved their blushes and if either Henriques or Maxwell could catch, would have more likely scored 325 today. You also chased 350 the second time with what, 3 balls to spare, so it wasn't easy. And that was because M Johnson bowled us back into contention. He was expensive, sure, who wasn't? But of all the bowlers, he was the only one that genuinely looked threatening. IN this series we scored pretty much 300 every innings and you had to chase 2 record scores just to beat us. Gloat all you like, but as soon as your team walks out of India, you're only a quarter of the side you are - and Oz get better! Also, just remember that you lost 4-0 in Oz and looked useless, after already being smashed 4-0 by Eng. So don't talk up your test side when they can't win anything except when the wickets are raked down - even then you got beat by Eng. Ind are a team heading downwards once Tendulkar goes. Hometown heroes

  • Macker60 on November 2, 2013, 22:25 GMT

    Harmony111, You are forgetting the rule changes and the effects they are having, Think you will see bigger scores and 350 not being that great. T20 has brought the Hit and Miss approach to game, Which along with the rule changes I would not be surprise to a Few 200 plus scores and even 3 batsmen score a 100 in the same game, You cannot look at the end result of stats in these games you look at where they bowled and line and length. And to be honest India need to improve there Wickets otherwise they will never get top rated fast bowlers, Which is good for the rest of the world, Image a India team with 2-3 class steamers that bowl over 140, One day they will get there wickets right, in the lower grades to assist these type of bowler coming thru.

  • RednWhiteArmy on November 2, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    Mitchell Johnson is property of the barmy army

  • Harmony111 on November 2, 2013, 4:44 GMT

    @Biggus:

    In the 6th Ind-Aus ODI Report Forum, we saw how your comments clearly showed you had no idea what a greentop really means and that you did not know the diff between a flat track, spinning wicket & a dustbowl yet you always cry about Indian Pitches.

    Just for comparison, India effortlessly chased the two huge 350 totals put by Aus while Aus never looked like chasing 304 that India put up in Mohali till Ishant Sharma decided it was time to perform a Running Comedy Show.

    Mitch went for 0-68 & later for 72 runs in his last match, took 2 wickets one of which was a wrong decision. Quite clearly, Even the best Oz bowlers can do well ONLY ON Fast/Bouncy Wickets and look toothless as soon as they are out of their comfort zone.

    Whatever the track may be, a team should be able to defend 350 yet Aus failed. Not once but twice in a row.

    Btw, in tests, Aus are 0-8 in India & 0-7 of late, (soon to be 0-12 or 0-11). :-p

  • avr.Dravid on November 2, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    So the RAINA and YUVRAJ must be smiling.

  • dunger.bob on November 2, 2013, 0:53 GMT

    It'll be interesting to see how Coulter-Nile goes. Good I hope.

    Talk about getting thrown into the deep end. No pressure there Nathan, it's just the deciding match.

    I agree with the decision to bring Mitch home. It's been forced upon us by the continuing run of injuries to our younger guys and it's unfortunate for this ODI series but it's the right decision.

    All the whining and bleating in the world is not going to change our priorities. We are sick to death of losing to the Poms and will do everything we can to stop them. There are no apologies for that. If it's seen as an insult then that's just too bad, maybe some people need to de-sensitise a bit.

  • dummy4fb on November 1, 2013, 20:23 GMT

    the diligent approach of our bowlers in England saw us lose 3-0 and the Poms make more than 300 nearly every time. they weren't the reason we lost, but they are the reason we didn't win. well, part of it.

    we need a different philosophy. the Poms eat diligent attacks for breakfast. we need a wildcard quick - it would have been Cummins but might need to be Mitch; and a wildcard spinner, not a tweaker but the 6-68 man. as Punter says, we never lose in Brisbane, so let's try and win, that will force England to come at us. and come at us, they will. but we are pretty good in those situations, bad in the attritional ones. we made 500ish twice over there and couldn't convert it, partly weather but bot exclusively.

    juice in the track and play to win. get Nathan Astle in to play a 200-special. go down swinging.

  • dummy4fb on November 1, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    Nonsense! Should have been home preparing for Ashes with McDermott instead of being on this one day junket! He is going to need all the time and attention of McDermott if he is going to be a red ball dominator in the up coming battle with the English cricket team!