Johnson backed for Ashes return
Australia captain George Bailey believes Mitchell Johnson can use the upcoming limited overs matches against England to force his way back into the Test team for this winter's Ashes.
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Johnson was not a part of the squad that suffered the 3-0 Ashes defeat as he has instead been preferred in the shorter formats.
The left-arm quick is a figure of fun amongst England fans for his past Ashes performances and, after the struggles of the Test team over the past two months, returns to these shores for the two Twenty20 and five one-day internationals.
But Bailey has warned the 31-year-old, who has 205 Test wickets, is not a spent force and that he remains firmly in the minds of Australia's selectors.
"Absolutely. I've no doubt they'd have Mitch in their sights for a couple of those (Ashes) games particularly given the grounds and his record at some of those grounds," Bailey said.
"I don't think he'd ever be too far from the selectors' minds.
"I don't think he's got anything to prove and his form has been really great.
"I thought he bowled really well in his last couple of one-day games for us. He's not too much fun to face in the nets so hopefully he brings that aggression."
Australia have not won a competitive international fixture in any format since February 10 - a barren run that will have lasted exactly 200 days when the tourists meet England in the first NatWest Twenty20 in Southampton on Thursday night.
Bailey believes Johnson has the match-winning ability to change that.
"There's no doubt someone like him who can bowl as quick as he can and swing the ball at the top of the order can break a game open," he said.
"That's what we are after with our Twenty20 cricket - we want match winners."
Johnson will almost certainly have to deal with the goading of the home fans - a sell-out crowd is due at the Ageas Bowl - although his mantle as pantomime villain has been taken over by David Warner in his absence this summer after he aimed a punch at Joe Root in a Birmingham bar in June.
"I don't know (who will get more attention from the crowd), it will be a toss up," Bailey said with a smile.
"Talking to Mitch he's grown with it. He's come to enjoy it.
"It's part and parcel of cricket. I thought Davey handled it well and played up to the crowd nicely.
"That's one of the great things about playing in England - the interaction with the crowd. From all reports it's going to be a bumper crowd."
Australia have not won an international match since completing a 5-0 whitewash of a one-day international series against West Indies in Melbourne.
Since then a winless tour of India was followed by an early Champions Trophy exit before their Ashes defeat.
Coach Darren Lehmann admitted his side had started to forget how to win during the Test series but Bailey is certain Australia's long wait for a win is playing on anyone's mind inside the dressing room.
"They say winning is a habit and I tend to agree with that," he said.
"Stating the obvious but you don't go out and try and win any more.
"There were none of those games since February where we thought we've won one recently so we won't try and win this one.
"I think that is more fodder for you guys than for us to deal with.
"It's pretty blatant what we want to do. We plan to win. It's the same regardless of what has happened in the past."