Johnson return gives hint
Australia have given the clearest indication yet that Mitchell Johnson is firmly in their Ashes plans after confirming the left-armer is to leave their limited overs tour of India early.
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Johnson will miss the series decider in Bangalore on Saturday as he instead returns home a day earlier to prepare for Western Australia's next Sheffield Shield match.
Cricket Australia's general manager of team performance Pat Howard revealed Johnson's early return, which will allow him up to two four-day matches before the Ashes opener in Brisbane on November 21.
"Mitch has performed very well in India, 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," Howard said in a statement.
Johnson was left out of Australia's squad for last summer's Ashes series, which England won 3-0, but he has forced his way back into contention following his performances in the shorter formats.
Injuries to his fellow quicks James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and Jackson Bird have also opened the door for the 51-Test veteran.
Johnson served notice he was ready to add to that number during the 50-over series against England immediately after the Ashes, when he bowled with pace and consistency.
The 31-year-old particularly troubled Jonathan Trott and has continued his fine form during the one-day series in India, which is poised at 2-2.
Johnson has claimed a remodelled action is the reason behind his new-found consistency, and pace, after working with former Australia swing bowler Terry Alderman in Perth.
Western Australia's next Sheffield Shield match is against South Australia at the WACA Ground in Perth next week.