England v Australia, 3rd NatWest ODI, Edgbaston

Voges backs Johnson for Ashes

George Dobell

September 10, 2013

Comments: 36 | Text size: A | A

Mitchell Johnson celebrates an early strike, England v Australia, 2nd NatWest ODI, Old Trafford, September 8, 2013
Mitchell Johnson has ruffled England's batsmen at the start of the one-day leg of the tour © AFP

Adam Voges has said that Mitchell Johnson is "doing everything right" in his bid to win a recall to Australia's Test side.

Voges and Johnson were both part of the side that thrashed England in Sunday's ODI at Old Trafford, leading Voges to suggest that performances over the remaining games could have relevance to the Ashes series starting in November.

Not only does Voges believe that players such as Johnson can prove their worth for selection for the series - he bowled in excess of 90mph in dismissing two of England's top three in successive deliveries on Sunday - but he believes that Australia can gain some confidence by beating England in the ODIs.

Johnson's chances of a Test recall would appear to have taken a boost with the news that Mitchell Starc, the left-arm pace bowler who appeared to have moved ahead of Johnson in the pecking order, has sustained a stress fracture in the back and is an injury doubt for the Ashes. And while English crowds have not missed an opportunity to heckle Johnson - something of a pantomime villain among England supporters - in Manchester, at least, he had the last laugh.

Certainly the brute of a bouncer he produced to dismiss Jonathan Trott first ball suggested he could be quite a force on the quicker-paced Australian wickets.

"Facing him in the nets and watching him over these last few games, his pace is right up," Voges said. "He is bowling fast, he is swinging the ball and he is making life for England's top order tough work.

"I know there's been a lot of talk about Mitch possibly playing in the Ashes series. He's doing everything right at the moment. He's been outstanding."

"When you're bowling 90mph-plus and swinging the ball, I think that's a challenge for any batsman, no matter who you are. If he can do that consistently throughout this series, then I hope that will go a long way towards us winning it.

"The crowd don't miss him, do they? Every opportunity they get, even when we were up in Scotland, they didn't miss him up there either. But I actually think he relishes it."

Voges also felt that, as Australia battle to regain their confidence ahead of the next instalment in the Ashes, the ODI team had could play a key role by defeating an under-strength England and perhaps strike the first blow to their morale.

"There's no doubt that, in this one-day squad, we've got a real responsibility to try to win as many games as we can in this series," Voges said. "Any wins we can take back to Australia, for our home summer, will be really important.

"It's obviously been a tough few months. But we're very pleased after the way we played in Manchester the other day. We'll take a lot out of that, and it gives us the opportunity to take that into tomorrow and really apply some pressure on England in this series."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by CapitalMarkets on (September 13, 2013, 16:24 GMT)

I'd agree that Johnson should play in the forthcoming ashes series. If only he were as mentally strong as physically, I'm sure he would have been one of the all-time great Aussie quicks. Unfortunately his natural action is somewhat erratic which means that, although overall his stats are really impressive, he's never been able to play consistently well. Received wisdom is that bowlers like Johnson, who have natural pace and can bowl a really good delivery (mixed up with less testing deliveries and outright dross) are much more dangerous on good wickets than bowlers like Bird who are more accurate and consistent but have less pace or variety. If the pitch has any real pace, Johnson can be a real handful. If I were Clarke, I'd learn sign language and give him earplugs to stop him getting unsettled by the crowd and his opponents. He should be told to enjoy life, enjoy his cricket and rip into the opposition. He's also a useful lower order batsman with far too much potential not to play.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (September 13, 2013, 13:30 GMT)

If nothing else, Johnson makes for great viewing during the ODIs. He's really firing them through, and the Pom upper order look like wombats in the headlights. That's what really annoys Millhouse79 and co. The English media would have us believe that talent is far greater in the English ranks, so seeing our second stringers like Johnson putting the fear of God into KP, Root and co is causing them a cognitive blowout.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (September 13, 2013, 5:47 GMT)

hhillbumper ; That's ok one good over and one good over and you can ask Kallis, Graeme Smith or Sangakkara what could happen.

Posted by hhillbumper on (September 12, 2013, 21:41 GMT)

please pick him for the ashes.One bad over,the barmy army jump on him and England will feast on him.Of course though as an Aus fast bowler he is already one of the worlds greatest.5-0 to Aus for the Ashes then

Posted by whatawicket on (September 12, 2013, 12:10 GMT)

if he starts off ok then he may bowl throughout the ashes.but if he has a bad session and that's whats happened in the past and the barmy army start getting at him he will fold its happened time after time. how many of the present aussie side and ex players have dived in to defend him. very frail if anything goes against him.

Posted by Mitty2 on (September 12, 2013, 11:40 GMT)

Ridiculous comment @landl47... Johnson is one of the most durable quicks in word cricket right now as he's been for the majority of his career. His pace was as good in the Eng 10/11 series as it is now... It's purely psychological and I'm not sure how that's not obvious to everyone. Batsmen put pressure on him, he's wayward because of the lower arm and consequently he's simply, awful. When he's confident, his arm is higher, he has the same pace but higher control and more swing. And as seen, in that series, how can he become so good so quickly and so bad so quickly if it's a physical thing? Middle of the series, WACA, man of the match and wins us our only game. The rest he's terrible - oh no but it's physical. Codswallop.

@Milhouse79, I'd thought you'd improved your bias this Ashes series... Evidently not! His stats are very similar to both Broad's and Anderson's but he hasn't played against Bangladesh..

For what it's worth, i have no clue if i want MJ back. Shield form will be key.

Posted by   on (September 12, 2013, 9:52 GMT)

England fan here: and on current form I'd say that Johnson is a must-pick for the winter, especially with Starc out (and frankly I'd prefer him to Starc even then). Plus, his presence doesn't half cheer things up. All together: "He bowls to the left..."

Posted by ScottStevo on (September 12, 2013, 9:38 GMT)

@HowdyRowdy, that's why it's called a 'balanced attack'. So we select two bowlers who keep it tight and build pressure (Siddle/Harris), along with 1 from bowlers like Johnson, Starc, Pattinson, Cummins as our tearaway types who can be a little expensive, but are always a genuine threat to any batsman. If we turned out with Siddle/Harris/Bird as our pace attack, sure, it would be very decent as all three are very good bowlers, yet somehow I get the feeling that things would become very similar for good batsmen. The defensive way in which England play test cricket, we need a tearaway type who can land a few unplayable deliveries and with them generally scoring at 2rpo, I don't think one bowler going at even 5rpo will make too much difference - so long as they're taking a few wickets, that is!

Posted by ScottStevo on (September 12, 2013, 9:18 GMT)

@Milhouse79, The exact same thing could be said of Broad wo generally goes missing for a whole series, then bowls one good spell and retains his spot after most Eng fans are calling for his head. Of the 3 bowlers you mention, in ODIs, I'd take Johnson first and I'd take Johnson over Broad in tests. Johnson has been in amazing form recently and if it weren't for his torrid time with fans in Eng, he'd have been selected to play in the last Ashes series and was a surprise omission from the squad. @landl47, so it's fine to dismiss Anderson's early career woes, yet for our comparisons, we're supposed to include Johnson's to prove your point? Look at Anderson v Siddle - statistically Siddle is far superior - is he a better bowler? Stats only go so far in proving ones worth - Johnson is dangerous - ask KP who got beaten for pure pace & Trott didn't have a clue what was going on - nor did the umpire for that matter!

Posted by InfiniteWhite on (September 12, 2013, 8:50 GMT)

Johnson should play. Then, the Australian media should gang up exploiting the list of injuries he has caused to send a doubt and fear into the English batsmen. Like, "Last summer, Johnson broke Sangakkara's thumb. Are you better than Sangakkara?"

Posted by   on (September 12, 2013, 5:43 GMT)

Johnson's problems are largely psychological. If he gets rattled he loses concentration on his form, his technique fails and he loses control.

This is something that is entirely remediable. His form in the ODIs has been excellent and there is no sign of the mental frailties of the past.

The speed with which English fans want to write him off smacks to me of insecurity.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (September 12, 2013, 3:47 GMT)

Milhouse 79 - "Johnson has boosted his stats against rubbish teams and melts when he bowls to proper batting line ups" - How come he averages less than Anderson against South Africa. How come is average against England's is better than Anderson's against Australia - Yet as we have been reminded several times that England have been the dominant side throughout Anderson and Johnson's playing career. Johnson hasn't played against Zimbabwe or a Bangladesh. If your statement is true then it can quite easily be reversed that ANderson has boosted his average against rubbish teams and melts when he bowls to proper batting line-ups. The truth is except for an 18 month form slump - Johnson's career has been exceptional.

Posted by HowdyRowdy on (September 12, 2013, 3:22 GMT)

Picking MJ would be deliberating moving away from choosing a consistent bowler at Test level, who builds pressure in good bowling partnerships, to an erratic tearaway who will set up the occasional win when he gets it all right on the day.

His bowling numbers against England are 35 wickets at 34.4. Numbers that don't scream out: 'pick me'.

Of course these numbers include his famous match figures of 9 for 82 in the December 2010 Perth Test. That's the conundrum: do you pick MJ, hoping that he will get it right sooner instead of later, or look for a bowler who consistently bowls good lines and builds pressure.

Call me old fashioned, but I prefer the latter.

Posted by MinusZero on (September 11, 2013, 23:09 GMT)

ODIs and Tests hold no relevance. Players are swinging the bat in ODIs, so your figures will always look better in tests. Unfortunately, the selectors dont seem to see the difference. If Johnson performs in first class games, maybe then, otherwise try new players. Johnson has one good game to 10 bad ones. Not worth the risk

Posted by   on (September 11, 2013, 17:30 GMT)

If Johnson plays, then I think Alastair Cook will have a good series.

Posted by Jaffa79 on (September 11, 2013, 14:48 GMT)

Johnson has boosted his stats against rubbish teams and melts when he bowls to proper batting line ups. He lives off a series against SA about 4 or 5 years ago but his supporters seems to forget how many times he has wasted new balls or bowled loose spells. I will concede that when everything clicks, he can be devestating but when exactly is that? He'll bowl rubbish for 4 Tests out of 5 and then 1 spell and it is all ok? I stick with Jimmy, Broad et al thanks! We had a player called Devon Malcolm that could be rapid and rip through teams but more often than not, he was awful. Trott got out to him because he developed a ridiculous habit of walking at the quicks! As an England fan, the sight of MJ at the Gabba will bring a smile to my face!

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (September 11, 2013, 12:57 GMT)

Johnson has chance to repeat SA '08 in Ashes @ Aus '13 and lead Aus to resounding Ashes win .With the form he is in and which makes him the most scary and enticing of all pacers in the world - only Steyn, Harris and Siddle ,maybe some young Pak pacers can come close to matching his venom and class at his best - Trott and some of other ageing Eng bats can expect the sort of balls Trott got in last ODI and the struggling Eng bats mostly will have no answers . Promises to be another 'Mitch' Jonson series , 1 which took time coming but which the world was waiting to watch -Johnson @ fiery best ! 95+ mph on some bouncy and quick home pitches -Ashes action hasn't been as good for a long while !

Posted by featurewriter on (September 11, 2013, 12:43 GMT)

I'd have Johnson in my Test team every day of the week. He is a game-changing player - with bat and ball. I've captained first grade cricket and every great team needs a player like Johnson - as a captain I'd kill for a Mitch in my team. I also agree with Jared Hansen's comments that a good ODI series here could put Voges or Bailey into the mix for Test selection at number 6. I've long been a fan of Voges and I think he has done the hard work to deserve a call up. I rate him well ahead of most of the other batsmen who have won a baggy green in the past 18 months.

Posted by landl47 on (September 11, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

Johnson's bowled very well in ODIs, but does that translate into test form? In ODIs he only has to bowl 10 overs. His problem, as has been well documented, is that when his arm drops he starts spraying the ball around, loses his swing and gets hammered. When does his arm drop? When he gets tired. Bowling in tests and having to bowl something like 3 times as many overs in the same space of days as 2 ODIs, and then do it again 3 days later, is a different proposition.

However, with Starc now out, it really comes down to Harris' fitness. If Harris is fit, he's a lot better choice as strike bowler. He bowled wonderfully well in the series in England. If he's not fit, then Aus may have to consider MJ.

@Insult_2_Injury: instead of looking at career averages (which in Anderson's case goes back nearly 10 years) you might want to look at form over the last 3 years- since, say, the start of the 2010 Australian summer. Do the comparison with Anderson and see what you come up with.

Posted by Dangertroy on (September 11, 2013, 11:25 GMT)

@ Insult2injury - Johnson has a higher economy rate than either of those two. Even if anderson isn't taking wickets, he will keep the pressure on and keep the scoring down. Johnson can really ratchet up the pressure when he is on song, but when he is off, he will serve up at least one bad ball an over. He releases the pressure that the other bowler is building.

That said, it is entirely likely he will play this summer. I don't think he is a first choice bowler, but with Starc out and Harris still fragile, he will certainly be in the reckoning. Lets see how he starts the shield season.

@Anish - Cummins has been injured since his test debut. He has played a few 2020 matches, and a few australia a matches, but will now miss his third consecutive home summer.

Posted by milepost on (September 11, 2013, 8:19 GMT)

I think it's rather snide to state he's no good, may you just don't like him. As @insult_2_injury points out, he has better stats than Anderson. I don't care much for stats which in some ways adds to Johnson's appeal - he has produced some really memorable spells - some exceptional, exciting bowling. Anderson hasn't, despite him being a very good bowler in his own right. His bowling in South Africa was nothing short of phenomenal. So his form wanes? Big deal. When we have Harris, Watson and Siddle we can afford a genuine strike bowler in the side. I think if you asked the English who they would least like to face Johnson would be at the top. Strauss recently commented that it can be tough facing bowling with mixed lines, especially swinging at 90mph+.

Posted by gimme-a-greentop on (September 11, 2013, 7:46 GMT)

If Johnson is showing pace and form then they should pick him for Tests. The English people who mock him do so on the basis of a couple of bad Ashes series. If that was the criteria for life-long mocking, then there would be no English players from the 90's able to show face in public. These English fans never really saw, except for one game at Perth, what he can do. In SA we know all about it. He was frightening in that series here. He seems far more stable in his bowling now, largely due to his mostly having to bowl in ODI cricket and tournaments like IPL, where he was really good. If anything, rather than always remembering him as the guy who "choked" in the Ashes, he should be remembered as the guy who put Smith and Kallis in hospital on the same day. Who else has done that?

Posted by Big-Dog on (September 11, 2013, 7:44 GMT)

So by what credentials does Voges have to start recommending anyone?. Johnson is finished as a test player. I'd have Hilfenhaus back before Johnson. Limited over successes rarely transfer to Test success.

Posted by siddhartha87 on (September 11, 2013, 7:29 GMT)

Will be great too see MJ. I like his break the finger or break the attitude.

Posted by AnishSomani on (September 11, 2013, 7:26 GMT)

Sure, He should play but I think Cummins and Pattinson(if fit) should play before him. The Aussies should play Cummins more often.He destroyed South Africa on debut but didn't get a chance afterwards.They should try playing hese two as experience will only help those two(especially Cummins).

Posted by ravi_hari on (September 11, 2013, 6:11 GMT)

Jhonson should have played in the current Ashes. I thought he would have been much better than Bird. Harris, Starc and Jhonson would have been a very effective combination. With Starc doubtful, Jhonson should be the only one CA should look at. He is fit, bowling a good speed and will be playing in home conditions. Use him like Harris. Give him a break after a couple of tests. The problem with Jhonson is that he is inconsistant. You need to give him a break so that he regains rythm. He is aggressive something which the present Aussies lacked in the Ashes. His batting will be an added advantage. He should share the new ball with Harris and is also capable of reversing the old ball. I think Voges is right in saying Jhonson is probably bowling at this best and should not be ignored. I dont agree with people saying dont judge on the basis of ODI performances. I think if someone bowls 10 overs of high speed and picks wickets, he qualifies for tests, where one bowls spells of 8-10 overs only

Posted by   on (September 11, 2013, 6:08 GMT)

@Sir_Francis The last back-to-back tests Johnson played, in this previous Australian summer, he took 9/171. That's an average of 19. You can write that off and say "It was only Sri Lanka" but I'd definitely back him to be able to do it again.

Posted by   on (September 11, 2013, 2:35 GMT)

I think these ODIs could also put Voges or Bailey in the frame for the number 6 position in the Ashes...

Posted by Shaggy076 on (September 11, 2013, 0:48 GMT)

Johnson had one bad patch in his career. Other than that his career has been exceptional. Milhouse79 - His test and one-day careers are superior to your #2 bowler in Broad, and quite comparatable with Jimmy Anderson. He has done what many English bowlers wish they could do and won Man of the Series in a winning series in South Africa. I'm sure with all that he has achieved there will be no skin of his nose being labelled weak by an uneducated English fan. Since returning to the team last December from his injury break he has performed quite well, and if he was in the side come the next Ashes test I can see him doing some real damage.

Posted by Stubbzie on (September 10, 2013, 22:40 GMT)

A single one day win and now all of a sudden Johnson is good enough to play in the Ashes?? Give me a break... The Barmy Army alone will shred his confidence before he gets through his first Ashes over, then it'll all be down hill from there until he's dropped for the next test. The only reason he's even being considered (note: only by his team mate Vogues, who himself isn't exactly a test legend who can dish out such advice) is that every other quick in Australia's team are crumbling like sand castles. I would like nothing more than to see Johnson play in the Ashes, and to see him go for 5 or 6 an over in the process (most of those from wides).

Posted by Sir_Francis on (September 10, 2013, 21:55 GMT)

2008? That's a long time ago. He's done verry little since to suggest he'll ever be good again.

I see the word "if" used a lot with Johnson. If he plays in any tests I doubt we'll win. Even Perth.

Posted by dinosaurus on (September 10, 2013, 20:21 GMT)

@Milhouse79: I doubt that Jonathan Trott thinks Johnson is weak! Nor do the SA top order. The first ball of an interstate 50 over game (which was the first time I saw him bowl) he knocked the middle stump halfway o the boundary. And his slinging action can also be a positive. Because he lets it go from right over the stumps he can get the right-handers playing at his stock ball bowled across the body when the speed is up (more dependent on physical condition than anything else). And if he can get it to tail in to the right handers he can be almost unplayable on fast wickets.

Posted by ReverseSweepIndia on (September 10, 2013, 18:58 GMT)

There was a time when he looked faster than Waseem and could swing as much if not more. Aah, that time had long gone, now he is more like Ishant Sharma, doing everything right in nets but...

Posted by Peterincanada on (September 10, 2013, 18:13 GMT)

In the winter of 2008 Johnson was the best in the world as he destroyed South Africa. He lost his direction and length and eventually his place. If he should find it fo a period of time he can certainly destroy England. The big question is can he.

Posted by Jaffa79 on (September 10, 2013, 17:55 GMT)

Johnson is weak. I'd love to see him play in the Ashes. His technique is far too frail and it he doesn't click (9 times out of 10), he won't swing it and will just sling it down the legside. To be honest, what with the amount of injuries stacking up, he might have to play. Suddenly the Aussie pace battery (15 guys over 190 clicks) aren't quite so ominous are they?

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