Mitchell Johnson included in Australia squad for England tour

 

Mitchell Johnson was included in Australia's one-day international squad for this summer's tour of England today.

Johnson, 30, has not appeared at international level since November when he sustained a serious foot injury on the tour of South Africa.

The Western Australia left-armer played 22 one-day internationals in 2011 and claimed 39 wickets before being struck on the foot during the Wanderers Test. He has been recovering back in his adopted home state, but is yet to appear competitively since.

National selector John Inverarity said Johnson's selection was based on building him up for a place at the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in September.

"The panel (National Selection Panel) is looking forward to Mitchell being reinvigorated after being out of the game for six months," Inverarity said.

"We could have taken a squad of 14 and that in some senses would have been a better balanced squad, but we went with 15."

Pat Cummins is another player back in the fold after a lengthy lay-off - he suffered a bone stress injury in his foot in South Africa - while the inexperienced James Pattinson was also included.

Inverarity added: "The reason we went with 15 was Pat Cummins is coming back so there is a little bit of a question mark there.

"With James Pattinson there also just a bit of a question mark and with Mitch one of the thoughts was that he's very much in our sights for the Twenty20 World Cup, so we're going to develop him as well as we can for that.

"He's in the squad of 15 but not the team as yet."

Inverarity said they would be cautious with Cummins with the 19-year-old unlikely to be involved in every game on the tour, which includes warm-up matches against Leicestershire, Ireland and Essex before a five-match ODI series with England begins on June 29 at Lord's.

"We are also excited about the return of Pat Cummins and we are looking to ease him back into the team. He will not be expected to play in all of the eight scheduled games," he said.

Victorian Matthew Wade was named as the lone wicketkeeper in the absence of Brad Haddin, who Inverarity said would be "given all the time he needs" to overcome 'personal issues' relating to his sick daughter.

Joining Johnson, Cummins and Pattinson in the pace stocks are Clint McKay, Brett Lee and Ben Hilfenhaus, while Steve Smith and Xavier Doherty are the specialist spinners.

Smith comes in as the back-up all-rounder in place of Dan Christian, with batsman Peter Forrest and spinner Nathan Lyon the others left out of the squad.

"He's (Christian) a regular although he didn't play all the ODIs in the West Indies, he's also very much in our thoughts for the T20 World Cup but we've preferred to have Steve Smith in that role as back-up all-rounder," he said.

"If we picked the team tomorrow, Steve wouldn't be in it but again his end of season form was very encouraging, he's been doing well recently in the Twenty20 (IPL) in India."

New South Wales duo Phillip Hughes and Usman Khawaja were both overlooked with Inverarity suggesting their best path back into the side would be with English county clubs Worcestershire and Derbyshire respectively.

"There wasn't much point getting them into the (Australia) A side just for four days of cricket, but they have a wonderful opportunity in England to do well coming into the Australian summer."

Mainstays Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, David Warner, Michael Hussey and David Hussey are all included.

The Australia A squad is also touring England across July and August, with Ed Cowan named to captain the side and Forrest named vice-captain.

Five players (George Bailey, Cummins, Johnson, Pattinson and Smith) were named in both squads, with Inverarity stating it was a deliberate ploy.

"The Australia A Squad has been difficult to finalise," he said.

"While there is a busy schedule of cricket ahead, it cannot be known in advance which of the 15 players in the ODI Squad for England and Ireland will have heavy loads and those who will not and would therefore benefit from playing some games on the Australia A tour."

The Australia squad is: M Clarke (captain), S Watson, G Bailey, P Cummins, X Doherty, B Hilfenhaus, M Hussey, D Hussey, M Johnson, B Lee, C McKay, J Pattinson, S Smith, M Wade, D Warner.

The Australia A squad is: E Cowan (captain), P Forrest, G Bailey, J Bird, J Burns, T Cooper, P Cummins, B Cutting, L Davis, J Holland, M Johnson, M Klinger, N Lyon, T Paine, J Pattinson, S Smith, M Starc.

PA

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