The Ashes 2013-14 November 11, 2013

Harris hopes 'scary' Johnson returns

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Ryan Harris believes Mitchell Johnson will unsettle England's batsmen with his pace if, as anticipated, he is recalled for the first Ashes Test at the Gabba. Australia's selectors will name the squad for the Brisbane Test on Tuesday and Johnson is likely to be in the group alongside Harris, Peter Siddle, James Faulkner and perhaps one of Ben Hilfenhaus and the uncapped Ben Cutting, as Australia keep their options open with Shane Watson's fitness to bowl still unclear.

Whatever the case, Johnson is expected to join Siddle and Harris in the XI for what would be his first Ashes Test since the end of the disastrous home campaign in 2010-11. Johnson, 32, has been in and out of the Test side since then; he played three of the six home Tests last summer but his only appearance since then was a highly unsuccessful performance against India in Delhi in March, at the tail-end of a woeful Australian tour.

After being one of the four players who was suspended for a Test for failing to do his homework on that tour, Johnson took 0 for 60 in his only match, made a golden duck and gave away multiple boundary overthrows in the field. But the absence of James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and Jackson Bird due to injury has brought Johnson firmly back into contention for the Ashes, and Harris said he was impressed with what he saw of Johnson during last month's ODIs against India.

"He's right to go. I've watched him bowl in India and it's been scary," Harris said. "He's bowled that fast. I saw comments the other day in the paper that he only rushed Yuvraj and ... Raina. But Dhawan is a very good player, and Sharma, and he had them jumping. He's bowling fast. I hope he's back. He's had a tough time.

"He's been out of the Test team for such a long time and I know, I've spoken to him, he wants to be back in the team. He's done everything he can ... I'd be very surprised if he's not in the squad tomorrow. He's bowling very fast, and if he's bowling that pace, I know I wouldn't want to be facing it and I know the Englishmen wouldn't want to be facing it."

Johnson also had the South Australia batsmen jumping during last week's Sheffield Shield match at the WACA, where he finished with five wickets for the match and had a number of catches put down off his bowling. The Test captain Michael Clarke said at the weekend he thought Johnson even had the potential to be the Player of the Series if everything clicked in this Ashes, but first the selectors need to work out how Johnson and the rest of the bowlers fit together in the attack.

The main issue is the fitness of Watson and whether he will be able to bowl at the Gabba or will play as a batsman only. If his hamstring problem keeps him from bowling, the selectors could be tempted to opt for another allrounder to give Clarke a fifth bowling choice, but Harris said he would be comfortable being part of a four-man attack if that was the way the selectors went for the first Test.

"I'm happy to go with four," Harris said. "That's my job, I've got to bowl. It's probably good for the team if you have the fifth option. Shane Watson bowling and batting in our team is priceless. You need him batting and bowling, but you also [especially] need him batting. So whatever he needs to do and whatever has to be done for him to play, whether that's not bowling, that's fine, we need him in there. Either way, four or five, we've got to do the job, no matter what happens."

One potential dark horse is Cutting, who impressed for Australia A against England last week and may yet edge the more experienced Hilfenhaus for a place in the squad. Cutting, 26, has an outstanding first-class record at the Gabba, where he has taken 59 wickets at 19.83, and his Queensland team-mate Harris believes Cutting has improved his bowling significantly over the past few summers.

"In the last couple of years he's just improved so much," Harris said. "He was always known to bowl probably a little bit too short. It's something I've worked on with him a bit and he's worked with the staff at the Queensland Bulls. But he's bowling beautifully at the moment, he's bowling good pace and he's pitching the ball right up. And his batting - we all saw what he can do in the Ryobi Cup. He's virtually a genuine allrounder. I'd love to see him in there around the squad."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | November 12, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    Johnson could be a handful for England's batsmen, but only if he swings the ball. Bowling fast isn't going to do it. Most of England's top 6, but especially Cook, KP and Bell, don't mind fast at all- in fact, Cook plays quick bowling as well as anyone in the world. Lateral movement is another matter.

    Johnson bowled very well in the India ODIs, but he was used in short spells and only bowled 10 overs in a day. His problems come when his arm drops, as it does when he gets tired. In tests batsmen know they only have to get through his first 10 overs and he can be had after that. When he's bowling well he's great, but once he loses accuracy he leaks runs.

    @HatsforBats: You have to look at the statistics more closely. While it's true that over his career Johnson's average is about the same as Anderson and Broad, over the last three years they have averaged in the mid-twenties and Johnson in the mid-thirties. What he did in 2009 isn't particularly relevant now.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | November 13, 2013, 4:44 GMT

    @ DaveyB57: Very chewy food for thought those stats. ps. loved the bit about Thompson being a "seriously scary hombre".

    @ Land47: And that, in a nutshell old mate, is what we're all so worried about. .. You know what though, we're a land of gamblers so what the hell. At 32 Mitch has this one last chance to nail his position and he's been bowling pretty well. .. On his day he doesn't need to come back for a third or fourth spell because by then he will have already torn the opposition a new one. .. I know we haven't seen it for years and all that, but I'm telling you, if he does it in Brisbane, even the English fans will feel the hair on the back of their neck standing straight up. Now that's entertainment.

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | November 12, 2013, 22:07 GMT

    so which Mitch p;ays? We know what he is capable off and I have seen some posters talk of how he can win one test.The issue is what happens for the other four? Harris was the best bowler for Aus in last series. Who does the donkey work if Mitch goes wonky? there won't be Watson,clarke has a dodgt back so what does that do for your balance?Of course all of this is supposition but felt we could add to the hot air

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | November 12, 2013, 21:24 GMT

    The Watto thing just never gets old, does it? He is supposed to lend balance to the team. But actually the team gets balanced around him depending on whether he can bowl or not, or open, or not, or has done his homework, or wants to be vice captain, or is speaking to the skipper, or not.

  • POSTED BY DaveyB57 on | November 12, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    Let's look at the stats. Johnson 205 wickets at around 31 in 50 or so tests, Brett Lee 50% more wickets in 50% more tests at same average (and same batting average): Virtually identical stats in other words. Now compare Johnson with a seriously scary hombre. Jeffrey Thomson: same number of tests for 200 wickets at 28, partly in the era before helmets, heavy bats and shortened boundaries. Then decide whether you should be supporting Johnno instead of bagging him.

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | November 12, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    Lethal Methal is back! Mitchell Johnson will skittle out the English batsmen and send their off stump(s) cartwheeling!

  • POSTED BY Barnesy4444 on | November 12, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    On his day M.J. can win a test with one spell. If he's off he is a dead weight and better off 12th man. He is a big gamble. Faulkner out, Sayers in.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | November 12, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    @Mitty2, exactly, it was a commendable effort. He bowled well when you'd expect a bowler to do well, ie, with the new ball, after 2 days of rain. Nothing more. That he was better than his counterpart bolwing at 120kph didn't say a lot. He bowled well enough when the conditions were suiting. I watched as he beat the bat on the last day numerous times and probably was unlucky not to have a few more wickets to his name, so too on day 1 early doors. Regardless of this, he looked a decent bowler; nothing more. And certainly unworthy of the hype post this performance...

  • POSTED BY rmaganti on | November 12, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    I would like to see Faulkner playing instead of Watson. It might not seem like a popular choice, but with Watson's injury he could break down at any moment. Faulkner provides Clarke the genuine all rounder option he is looking for.

  • POSTED BY HatsforBats on | November 12, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    @ landl47, I'm aware of their respective performances. Johnson has had more good than bad series since his annus mirabilis, and his poor series have coincided with squad rotation, inconsistent selection policies, injury, and a loss of technique. I'm not sure if you've seen him bowl lately but his new run up takes him closer to the umpire and prevents his arm from dropping so low, giving more more consistent accuracy (still a bit wild at times). He'll never be miserly, but playing in the mould that I mentioned before would be more beneficial to his talents and the success of the team.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | November 12, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    Johnson could be a handful for England's batsmen, but only if he swings the ball. Bowling fast isn't going to do it. Most of England's top 6, but especially Cook, KP and Bell, don't mind fast at all- in fact, Cook plays quick bowling as well as anyone in the world. Lateral movement is another matter.

    Johnson bowled very well in the India ODIs, but he was used in short spells and only bowled 10 overs in a day. His problems come when his arm drops, as it does when he gets tired. In tests batsmen know they only have to get through his first 10 overs and he can be had after that. When he's bowling well he's great, but once he loses accuracy he leaks runs.

    @HatsforBats: You have to look at the statistics more closely. While it's true that over his career Johnson's average is about the same as Anderson and Broad, over the last three years they have averaged in the mid-twenties and Johnson in the mid-thirties. What he did in 2009 isn't particularly relevant now.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | November 13, 2013, 4:44 GMT

    @ DaveyB57: Very chewy food for thought those stats. ps. loved the bit about Thompson being a "seriously scary hombre".

    @ Land47: And that, in a nutshell old mate, is what we're all so worried about. .. You know what though, we're a land of gamblers so what the hell. At 32 Mitch has this one last chance to nail his position and he's been bowling pretty well. .. On his day he doesn't need to come back for a third or fourth spell because by then he will have already torn the opposition a new one. .. I know we haven't seen it for years and all that, but I'm telling you, if he does it in Brisbane, even the English fans will feel the hair on the back of their neck standing straight up. Now that's entertainment.

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | November 12, 2013, 22:07 GMT

    so which Mitch p;ays? We know what he is capable off and I have seen some posters talk of how he can win one test.The issue is what happens for the other four? Harris was the best bowler for Aus in last series. Who does the donkey work if Mitch goes wonky? there won't be Watson,clarke has a dodgt back so what does that do for your balance?Of course all of this is supposition but felt we could add to the hot air

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | November 12, 2013, 21:24 GMT

    The Watto thing just never gets old, does it? He is supposed to lend balance to the team. But actually the team gets balanced around him depending on whether he can bowl or not, or open, or not, or has done his homework, or wants to be vice captain, or is speaking to the skipper, or not.

  • POSTED BY DaveyB57 on | November 12, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    Let's look at the stats. Johnson 205 wickets at around 31 in 50 or so tests, Brett Lee 50% more wickets in 50% more tests at same average (and same batting average): Virtually identical stats in other words. Now compare Johnson with a seriously scary hombre. Jeffrey Thomson: same number of tests for 200 wickets at 28, partly in the era before helmets, heavy bats and shortened boundaries. Then decide whether you should be supporting Johnno instead of bagging him.

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | November 12, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    Lethal Methal is back! Mitchell Johnson will skittle out the English batsmen and send their off stump(s) cartwheeling!

  • POSTED BY Barnesy4444 on | November 12, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    On his day M.J. can win a test with one spell. If he's off he is a dead weight and better off 12th man. He is a big gamble. Faulkner out, Sayers in.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | November 12, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    @Mitty2, exactly, it was a commendable effort. He bowled well when you'd expect a bowler to do well, ie, with the new ball, after 2 days of rain. Nothing more. That he was better than his counterpart bolwing at 120kph didn't say a lot. He bowled well enough when the conditions were suiting. I watched as he beat the bat on the last day numerous times and probably was unlucky not to have a few more wickets to his name, so too on day 1 early doors. Regardless of this, he looked a decent bowler; nothing more. And certainly unworthy of the hype post this performance...

  • POSTED BY rmaganti on | November 12, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    I would like to see Faulkner playing instead of Watson. It might not seem like a popular choice, but with Watson's injury he could break down at any moment. Faulkner provides Clarke the genuine all rounder option he is looking for.

  • POSTED BY HatsforBats on | November 12, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    @ landl47, I'm aware of their respective performances. Johnson has had more good than bad series since his annus mirabilis, and his poor series have coincided with squad rotation, inconsistent selection policies, injury, and a loss of technique. I'm not sure if you've seen him bowl lately but his new run up takes him closer to the umpire and prevents his arm from dropping so low, giving more more consistent accuracy (still a bit wild at times). He'll never be miserly, but playing in the mould that I mentioned before would be more beneficial to his talents and the success of the team.

  • POSTED BY beamer_specialist on | November 12, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    Dear CA, Thank you so much for picking Mr Johnson for the Test series. Now to make all my Christmas's come up once please find a place for Mr Hughes. A very happy Englishman. (5-0 to the Poms)

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | November 12, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    If Watto is not fit he cannot play. We may have won or at least tied the SA series if not for two breakdowns.

  • POSTED BY on | November 12, 2013, 5:08 GMT

    For all the ridicule that he has been subjected to by the English, it would be great if MJ can get his act together and be the player of the series! He did seem a handful every time he came on to bowl in India on the flat pitches and bowled exceedingly well in the ODI series in England!

  • POSTED BY ShutTheGate on | November 12, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    @ MArcus Stubbs

    Fair point about MJ needing a wicket early to get momentum. For me he's always been a confidence player but if he picks one up early those chants from the balmy army will add fuel to his fire and help him. If he's having a bad day it could go from bad to worse. That's why we need Watson to be able to bowl as a back up.

    I'm really looking forward to the MJ versus Trott battle as well as the MJ versus Carberry battle.

    This should be a great series.

  • POSTED BY philipg33 on | November 12, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    Fact- The last two Australian Ashes test Wins were down to Johnson. Perth 2011 and Headingley 2009 If he plays five tests he may bowl badly in one or two but Australia will have one win in the bag. Up to the other bowlers and batters to make it 2 or 3. Johnson is Australia best chance. He's probably a bit too quick for Bell Pietersen and Cookk can handle him but he will test Trott and Bell and will be all over Root.

  • POSTED BY on | November 12, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    I am indian. but still love johnson. cricket will be poorer without johnson. it is a treat to see 150 kmph bowlers in action. he is now one of the rare species. congrats to mitch for making a comeback to the australian team. go boy and blast england batsmen with your pace, bounce and movement.

  • POSTED BY on | November 12, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    MJ will always claim a wicket or two and he is very quick, but as an England fan I am relieved he will play as he presents scoring shots more often than wicket taking balls. With Harris, Siddle and potentially Cutting, England will need a 'release' over, or spell even, as those three are accurate enough to tie down both ends. I don't know how he will cope mentally if it doesn't go right for him early on, and the Barmy Army get on his back. Overall I think this is a much better Australian squad than the one that rocked up in England, and I see a much closer contest ahead, but still a narrow win for England based on experience and that winning instinct when it counts.

  • POSTED BY wellrounded87 on | November 12, 2013, 1:25 GMT

    @Scott Stevo Both batsmen played well, for the most part they were enduring Cutting's spells and attacking the other bowlers. Cutting beat the bat quite a few times. Cutting is a seasoned performer in shield nad can be a genuine wicket taker and also a contained controller.

    It's also worth noting that the Aus A side was bat heavy and bowler light. There was no pressure by any of the other bowlers except cutting and the pitch was batter friendly. Most if not all bowlers will struggle in those conditions, but Cutting did well and deserves selection has done for a long time now.

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | November 12, 2013, 0:15 GMT

    @Big_Maxy_Walker being 'effective' yet losing 3-0 is not going to cut it. We need that extra bit of magic and Johnson can provide that. Whether he will or not is another matter, but Johnson has the capability and I believe that this is his time.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | November 11, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    Harris is just being a good company man with these comments. I'm not sure we can afford to have Watto in as a pure batsman. His batting, on it's own, isn't good enough to warrant a place imo. It's those miserly overs he puts in that round out the Watto package and make him so valuable. Take away the bowling and you're left with a moderately successful batsman who can't convert 50's to 100's.

    Mitch drives me mad. What the hell are you supposed to do with him? .. I'm inclined to give him a go as long as they bring in either Faulkner or Cutting to replace Watto if he doesn't play.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | November 11, 2013, 23:05 GMT

    Did any of you commenting on the scoreline after day 1 of the tour match watch any of the day's play? There was nothing in the pitch for the bowlers - like the Bellerive pitches of old, it was a batsman's paradise, unlike the seaming wickets of recent years. As pointed out, though, once the pitch had been through a couple of rainy days, there was a little more in it for the bowlers. Cutting did a much better job than his figures suggest.

  • POSTED BY ShutTheGate on | November 11, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    If the likes of Ryno, McGrath and Clarke are backing Johnson then as a fan I'm happy to go with him. I think there are enough tight bowlers in the team that he can be used for frequent short sharp spells to make an impact.

    Does anyone know how far Pattinson is from being fit? Is he bowling in the nets yet?

  • POSTED BY Moppa on | November 11, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    A minor point, but neither Siddle nor Johnson have historically preferred taking the new ball in Tests. So a bowling line up of Harris and those two seems a bit imbalanced. In fact, Cutting doesn't typically take the new ball for Queensland, and neither does Faulkner for Tassie - so we'll have a squad of first change bowlers! @ravi_hari, Johnson is physically capable of bowling long spells, but the question is - can the captain and the scoreboard take it? If he's going at five an over, you just can't afford to bowl him for 25 overs a day.

  • POSTED BY Mitty2 on | November 11, 2013, 20:59 GMT

    @clavers, good post and completely true, (I dont know why I was still watching the tests at that point) and vijay had heaps of edges that didn't carry off Johnson's bowling. Everyone was expensive, but even the indians at that stage were noting how well he bowled.

    @scottstevi, did you watch the first day? Imagine being the only quality bowler of the whole team and bowling on a road with no back up? With both new balls he beat the bat heaps of times and Cook in particular struggled to him. Carberry edged a dolly to gully off Cutting's bowling and was dropped, and most noted that he was the only bowler who put in a commendable performance. And on the last day, no batsman could lay bat on him with Cutting being all over root, beating him 8 times in 5 overs and having him plumb LBW. This on top of gettig Trott and Ballance. This too was all economical, and I'd prefer a bowler taking wickets at a low economy than one taking them at a high economy, wouldn't you agree?

  • POSTED BY Clavers on | November 11, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    Whenever one of the England batsmen looks like getting himself in, Clarke brings Johnson on at one end to give them a good roughing-up and a few bruises. One of the strong points Johnson brings is that he is so fit and strong, he can bowl as both a strike and a stock bowler; he can give you lots of overs bit also maintain the venom. He can intimidate with both the new ball and the old ball and he gets decent reverse swing.

  • POSTED BY Clavers on | November 11, 2013, 20:16 GMT

    The article mentions Johnson's test in India as "highly unsuccessful." Actually, in a series in which all the Aussie quicks struggled except Pattinson, he bowled very well. He should have taken two or three wickets but the keeper and slips were too far back on a very dead track. He had the most economical bowling figures in the first innings and hardly bowled in the second, as Watson opted to open the bowling with two spinners.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | November 11, 2013, 15:18 GMT

    @FB poster, "Cutting showed excellent new ball control" - and if this skill was so great, why were we 318-0 after day 1? I can assure you, if we bowl like that on Day 1 at the Gabba, you could almost kiss the series goodbye! It wasn't until Day 4 after 2 days of the deck being rained on, cloud overhead and the pitch cracking a little that he started to bowl well...basically when any half decent trundler would be a handful. He bowled okay - at best. I'm not really sure why we think a containing bowler is going to do the trick for us when we lost in ENg 3-0 where Eng basically scored at 2rpo anyway?!

    @Big_Maxy_Walker, a little context there, as in India most of the scores were well over 300, and plenty over 350! And at most times, Johnson looked like the only bowler in our team even capable of taking a wicket.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | November 11, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    @Lyndon I watched Cutting bowl against England on the 1st day of the tour game last week. While he did bowl fairly tightly, accurate and beat the batters edge at times. He never really looks up to test quality yet though. I don't think Australian Selectors will want to pick any of the bowlers yet to play the 1st test. After England made 0/300 odd after the 1st day of that tour match.

  • POSTED BY on | November 11, 2013, 13:33 GMT

    With Watson probably not being able to bowl; it is vital that Australia get the new ball bowling partnership spot on as there will be no suitable fall back! Cutting showed excellent newball control in the game in Hobart as well as the ability to execute set plans for different batsmen and therefore should be selected as a reliable newball partner for Harris. As good as Harris is at bowling; his selection insight is a little awry as he thought Mitchell Starc was in for a great series in England. If Harris and Cutting click and take 3 wickets between them with the newball then there's no absolute necessity for either Mitch Johnson's '150 clicks' boundary thudding rockets nor Watto's 'break incase of Mitch emergency' maidens!

  • POSTED BY RagTagTeam on | November 11, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    Hmm, I don't think Johnson is capable of generating pressure against the English batsmen. I do think he'd be perfect to bowl after a spell of watto/siddle tying them down, then Johnson can bring some fast loose stuff. This will be really useful to Clarke in those stagnant overs (50-80), where you need to inject a bit of hostility and fear into the set batsmen. Not sure I'd be giving the new ball to Johnson though... Not unless it's Johnson 2009, in which case give a hair cut and the new ball, and maybe some brain cells...

  • POSTED BY on | November 11, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    OneEyedAussie is spot on. Johnson has proved again and again that he his not truly a 'world class' bowler in Tests. Craig McDermott teaches how to build pressure. Johnson bowls the odd brutal ball, but he cannot build and sustain pressure. If he is selected, I fear it could be all over for Australia very quickly.

  • POSTED BY HatsforBats on | November 11, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    Just how "inconsistent" is Johnson? His 200+ test wickets have cost 30, not 35. It's the same as Anderson & Broad, Brett Lee, Morne Morkel. For a bloke that can fling it down at 150+, intimidate batsmen, break hands, and score test centuries I think it's acceptable. Despite my bias, his new run up has obviously improved his arm height and if he was used in short spells as the 3rd seamer with backup from Watson (Cutting/Faulkner) him occasionally going at 4rpo wouldn't be an issue.

  • POSTED BY TheCaptayne on | November 11, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    Good luck to him. He's a bit flaky like Harmison, but a 90mph+ left armer who swings the ball and can score Test centuries has got to be worth picking. Very decent overall Test record too.

    (I'm an England fan but this isn't meant to be a wind-up!)

  • POSTED BY ravi_hari on | November 11, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    It is nice to hear Harris praise Jhonson. As they say fast bowlers hunt in pairs, I am sure Harris feels Jhonson will be his best mate to take on England and earn back the Urn. Every batsman in the world is uncomfrotable with pace and bounce. Aussie batsmen themselves will find the going tough if English pacers deliver fast rising deliveries. Harris is thinking in the right direction. The way England is playing, only a lethal onslaught will stop them from winning a 4th Ashes. If Aussie pacers can get the top 4 or 5 wickets with the new ball each innings, then they will have the best chance to win this edition. As their batting is still suspect, the bowlers need to play a big role if Aussies dream of winning. Another reason Harris would want Jhonson is like Siddle, Johnson also can take a lot of load and bowl long spells while Harris can be given short bursts at full steam. That way the impact will be maximum and Lyon can run through quick overs to keep up the bowling rate.

  • POSTED BY Big_Maxy_Walker on | November 11, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    all those praising Mitch's ODI form should be wary as he actually did not take that many wickets in the England/India series. And those were taken at over 30 runs per wicket much higher than Johnson's ODI record of 25

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | November 11, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    Agree @milepost on (November 11, 2013, 10:34 GMT), we need to take a risk first up. Depending on how he does he could stay or return for the WACA. If only Pattinson and Bird are able to return later I'd be much more comfortable about our chances, but since they're not there, we need to take this serious risk or England's confidence will merely increase. Agree @kensohatter on (November 11, 2013, 9:59 GMT) - "injuring one of their major run getters ie Cook or Bell will even out the contest a bit more."

  • POSTED BY milepost on | November 11, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    I like the fact he might get selected. For all those who knock him, yes you have reason to be wary. However, if he does fire he will wreak havoc. The likes of Trott, Root, Bairstow and the entire tail will not be able to handle him. He needs to bowl at the stumps or at the head, we don't need corridor bowling from him, just pure strike pace and aggression. If he is awful they can let him go but we need this kind of option.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | November 11, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    Yes Johnson lost his form for a 2-3 year period and bowled some rubbish. But since his return last summer was very consistent in the tests on AUstralian soil (4 tests in total) and been brilliant in one-dayers. His reckless days seem behind him and I for one reckon he should definetely be picked. Around 2009 he was a very consistent bowler and probably the best bowler in the world.

  • POSTED BY Nerk on | November 11, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    I've read this article before somewhere...oh yeah. Every single summer over the last couple of years. Ohh, MJ bowled well in a couple of ODIs. He made the batsmen jump in his last first class match (don't mention how he was completely out bowled by another left armer). The media, selectors and fans build him up, he comes out to bowl and everyone suddenly remembers why he was dropped in the first place. Is MJ in the top 3 bowlers going around the Shield at the mo. No. He isn't even the best left arm quick going around the country at the moment. I hope he bowls well. I hope he is the man of the series. But this has happened every year and every year it ends with the same question..."why did we pick this bloke again?"

  • POSTED BY kensohatter on | November 11, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    Johnson on his day is the best bowler in world cricket. Hes quick, left arm, gets frightening bounce and genuinely scares/injures batsmen. The problem is hes just nowhere near consistent. Every 10 games he will win you 1 and you will be a bowler short 9 times. In my opinion he can only be played as part of a 5 man bowling attack or in an attack with extremley tight bowlers surrounding him (like McGrath, Gillespie, Warne). I want him picked for the first ashes test because 1. he will have siddle and harris alongside him + prob lyon and watson or faulkner and 2. If he can ruffle feathers early get england in a hole and have a 1 in 10 day first up we may go 1 up in the series. oh also 3. He may injure one of there major run getters ie Cook or Bell and even out the contest a bit more.

  • POSTED BY OneEyedAussie on | November 11, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    Has Harris thought this through? Does he really want to be bowling when the guy at the other end is leaking 4 rpo? Remember all those well laid plans which kept Cook, Trott, KP and Prior quiet Ryano? They will be gone if Johnson plays.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | November 11, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    You took the words out of my mouth, Big Maxy Walker - as frighteningly good as Mitch is when he's on song, it's nothing compared to how frighteningly bad he is when he's not (and this is far more common). If - IF - the good Mitch turns up, I'll be happy. Would much rather see Cutting or Hilfenhaus come in. Love to see Faulkner too, but the Aussies probably need a full-time bat more than they need an extra bowler. Unless it's looking like a real road for the Gabba...

  • POSTED BY Matt. on | November 11, 2013, 9:12 GMT

    He is NOT a test bowler. I though all this craziness was over with. Initially I thought maybe play him at the WACA, but Sayers easily out bowled him there last week. Selectors see sense!

  • POSTED BY Big_Maxy_Walker on | November 11, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    Johnson is more scary for Australian supporters than anything he could do to England. Australia's bowling was effective in England when the pace bowlers were disciplined and stuck to plans. Starc and Pattinson often were wayward and it was left to Watson to brings thing back under control and create pressure again. Siddle to a lesser extent bowled too many boundary balls. I would go for Cutting as first change and Siddle/Harris with the new ball. There is no rule that we need a left armer and Cutting adds excellent fielding and good hitting to the equation. Plus his knowledge of the Gabba would help. Siddle and Harris can play every test, but the third pace bowler could be changed depending on need from Cutting, Johnson for Perth, and Faulkner if our batting is looking weak

  • POSTED BY Monoz1976 on | November 11, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    He is the man. He played ammaizingly even in World flattest wickets in India.

  • POSTED BY Romanticstud on | November 11, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    Even though I am South African ... something has led me to like Mitchell Johnson ... Is it the unpredictable bounce that he generates with his action ... Also on his home turf ... where he gave the Saffers a hard time in 2008 ... especially that 30 minute spell where he broke the heart of the batting ... but then he also injured Graeme Smith ... And then in South Africa he also came good with the bat ... Mitchell is an asset for Australia at home ... He also has an aggressive style of counter attack that we learned at the Wanderers when they beat us by 2 wickets chasing down 300 odd ...

  • POSTED BY smokem on | November 11, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    If Watto has a niggle and can't bowl, why is he being considered in the side at all? With his history, surely the risk of further damage is quite high if he played? Just replace Watto with Faulkner. It should be a no-brainer...

  • POSTED BY smokem on | November 11, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    If Watto has a niggle and can't bowl, why is he being considered in the side at all? With his history, surely the risk of further damage is quite high if he played? Just replace Watto with Faulkner. It should be a no-brainer...

  • POSTED BY Romanticstud on | November 11, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    Even though I am South African ... something has led me to like Mitchell Johnson ... Is it the unpredictable bounce that he generates with his action ... Also on his home turf ... where he gave the Saffers a hard time in 2008 ... especially that 30 minute spell where he broke the heart of the batting ... but then he also injured Graeme Smith ... And then in South Africa he also came good with the bat ... Mitchell is an asset for Australia at home ... He also has an aggressive style of counter attack that we learned at the Wanderers when they beat us by 2 wickets chasing down 300 odd ...

  • POSTED BY Monoz1976 on | November 11, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    He is the man. He played ammaizingly even in World flattest wickets in India.

  • POSTED BY Big_Maxy_Walker on | November 11, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    Johnson is more scary for Australian supporters than anything he could do to England. Australia's bowling was effective in England when the pace bowlers were disciplined and stuck to plans. Starc and Pattinson often were wayward and it was left to Watson to brings thing back under control and create pressure again. Siddle to a lesser extent bowled too many boundary balls. I would go for Cutting as first change and Siddle/Harris with the new ball. There is no rule that we need a left armer and Cutting adds excellent fielding and good hitting to the equation. Plus his knowledge of the Gabba would help. Siddle and Harris can play every test, but the third pace bowler could be changed depending on need from Cutting, Johnson for Perth, and Faulkner if our batting is looking weak

  • POSTED BY Matt. on | November 11, 2013, 9:12 GMT

    He is NOT a test bowler. I though all this craziness was over with. Initially I thought maybe play him at the WACA, but Sayers easily out bowled him there last week. Selectors see sense!

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | November 11, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    You took the words out of my mouth, Big Maxy Walker - as frighteningly good as Mitch is when he's on song, it's nothing compared to how frighteningly bad he is when he's not (and this is far more common). If - IF - the good Mitch turns up, I'll be happy. Would much rather see Cutting or Hilfenhaus come in. Love to see Faulkner too, but the Aussies probably need a full-time bat more than they need an extra bowler. Unless it's looking like a real road for the Gabba...

  • POSTED BY OneEyedAussie on | November 11, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    Has Harris thought this through? Does he really want to be bowling when the guy at the other end is leaking 4 rpo? Remember all those well laid plans which kept Cook, Trott, KP and Prior quiet Ryano? They will be gone if Johnson plays.

  • POSTED BY kensohatter on | November 11, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    Johnson on his day is the best bowler in world cricket. Hes quick, left arm, gets frightening bounce and genuinely scares/injures batsmen. The problem is hes just nowhere near consistent. Every 10 games he will win you 1 and you will be a bowler short 9 times. In my opinion he can only be played as part of a 5 man bowling attack or in an attack with extremley tight bowlers surrounding him (like McGrath, Gillespie, Warne). I want him picked for the first ashes test because 1. he will have siddle and harris alongside him + prob lyon and watson or faulkner and 2. If he can ruffle feathers early get england in a hole and have a 1 in 10 day first up we may go 1 up in the series. oh also 3. He may injure one of there major run getters ie Cook or Bell and even out the contest a bit more.

  • POSTED BY Nerk on | November 11, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    I've read this article before somewhere...oh yeah. Every single summer over the last couple of years. Ohh, MJ bowled well in a couple of ODIs. He made the batsmen jump in his last first class match (don't mention how he was completely out bowled by another left armer). The media, selectors and fans build him up, he comes out to bowl and everyone suddenly remembers why he was dropped in the first place. Is MJ in the top 3 bowlers going around the Shield at the mo. No. He isn't even the best left arm quick going around the country at the moment. I hope he bowls well. I hope he is the man of the series. But this has happened every year and every year it ends with the same question..."why did we pick this bloke again?"

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | November 11, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    Yes Johnson lost his form for a 2-3 year period and bowled some rubbish. But since his return last summer was very consistent in the tests on AUstralian soil (4 tests in total) and been brilliant in one-dayers. His reckless days seem behind him and I for one reckon he should definetely be picked. Around 2009 he was a very consistent bowler and probably the best bowler in the world.