Gillespie: Johnson could be vital in Ashes

Australia

Former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie hopes the selectors take note of Mitchell Johnson for the Ashes series Down Under at the end of the year, saying the veteran paceman could play a 'big role' in the series.

Former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie hopes the selectors take note of Mitchell Johnson for the Ashes series Down Under at the end of the year, saying the veteran paceman could play a 'big role' in the series.

Johnson has 51 Tests caps but last played a five-day game in March against India. He was not part of the Ashes side in England, but has been playing in the limited-overs games to good effect.

Gillespie feels Johnson's experience will be vital during the return leg, after Ryan Harris showed the value of consistency and experience during the Aussies' three-nil defeat in England, taking the most wickets for the Aussies.

Gillespie told <i>BBC Sport</i> whet he thought of Johnson: "He could play a big role. He has the desire and drive to reignite his Test career.

"I spoke to him the other night and he is leaving no stone unturned, working really hard. The Australian support staff are absolutely thrilled with how he has been coming along.

"He's reverted back to his longer run-up. He's running in slightly differently, his arms are not swinging as much and he is a bit more compact and streamlined running in to bowl.

"That is getting him into a really good position at the crease to unleash the ball. I think he is in a pretty good place and that is improving his consistency."

Johnson's good form will be crucial for the Aussies, as yet another paceman in Mitchell Starc recently fell to a back injury, joining Harris, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson on the injury list.

Gillespie felt that because Johnson has not played in all formats, and Peter Siddle only plays in Tests, they have been able to avoid the body strain the younger players have been put under.

The Yorkshire coach added: "It's the guys who are playing all three forms of the game who are more susceptible to suffering these injuries.

"Siddle has decided to make his focus the long form of the game and he seems to be able to find a way to get through.

"I think we will see more and more fast bowlers around the world who will only commit themselves to one or two forms of the game."

Latest