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Johnson makes NatWest Series cut

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Mitchell Johnson has been included in Australia’s squad for the NatWest Series.

The left-arm fast bowler has not played competitively since November when he sustained a serious foot injury on the tour of South Africa.

Johnson, 30, 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 in his adopted home state, Western Australia.

Johnson's inclusion means he will be unavailable for Durham's Friends Life t20 campaign.

National selector John Inverarity said Johnson's selection was based on building him up for a place at the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, which begins 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 is 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."

Mitchell Johnson

Mitchell Johnson, who last played competitively on Australia's tour of South Africa in 2011, has recovered from a foot injury

Inverarity said they would be cautious with Cummins. The 19-year-old is unlikely to be involved in every game on the tour of England and Ireland, which includes warm-up matches against Leicestershire, Ireland and Essex before the five one-day internationals with England beginning 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," Inverarity said.

Matthew Wade was named as the lone wicketkeeper in the absence of Brad Haddin, whom 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 Steven 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 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 in India."

Batsmen Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja were both overlooked, with Inverarity suggesting their best path into the side would be with 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, Mike Hussey and David Hussey are all included.

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

It also features left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc, who has signed as Yorkshire’s overseas player this season but will now be otherwise engaged during the A tour.

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."

Australia squad: Michael Clarke (captain), Shane Watson (vice-captain), George Bailey, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mike Hussey, David Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Clint McKay, James Pattinson, Steven Smith, Matthew Wade, David Warner.

Australia A squad: Ed Cowan (captain), Peter Forrest (vice-captain), George Bailey, Jackson Bird, Joe Burns, Tom Cooper, Pat Cummins, Ben Cutting, Liam Davis, Jon Holland, Mitchell Johnson, Michael Klinger, Nathan Lyon, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc.

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