Northamptonshire weighing up move for Mitchell Johnson

Northamptonshire are weighing up a move for Australian Mitchell Johnson for the Friends Life t20, according to David Smith

Ryan Bailey
By Ryan Bailey

High-flying Northamptonshire are considering an approach for axed Australia bowler Mitchell Johnson for the Friends Life t20 competition, according to the county’s chief executive David Smith.

The 31-year-old was left out of the 16-man squad named by Cricket Australia on Wednesday for the first of back-to-back Ashes series against England and would be available for the competition which begins in June.

“He’s a player that would interest most that have a vacancy.” Smith told BBC Radio Northampton on Thursday.

“He’s someone I know [head coach] David Ripley is looking at, along with one or two others at the moment,” Smith told BBC Radio Northampton.

Johnson is currently playing for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL and is apparently keen to sign for an English county, a move which would maximise his chances of being called up to the Ashes squad should he be needed.

The left-arm pace bowler would join fellow Australian Cameron White at Wantage Road should he join the Steelbacks but Smith admitted the club have lost their battle to secure the services of all-rounder Shaun Marsh for the competition.

“We’re following up our next in line,” said Smith. “I think most people are aware that with Mitchell Johnson having not been selected for Australia, clearly he has become a candidate for a number of counties for T20.

“My understanding is he doesn’t want to play [four-day] county cricket, he wants to play T20. [But] He’s likely to have some involvement with the Australia one-day team after the Ashes.”

After enduring a difficult 2012, Northants have started the new season in the best possible fashion and are the early pace setters in Division Two.

However, the club are aiming to improve their poor recent limited-overs record and Smith knows quality overseas signings are key to any successful campaign.

“Whoever we bring in will be a batsman or an all-rounder. Batting prowess will be required. The problem with a bowler is they can only influence four overs of the game,” added Smith.

“Mitchell’s a good all-round cricketer. He has a Test hundred and he hits a pretty hard ball in white-ball cricket. We feel the balance of someone of that ilk would be considered.”

Johnson has played 28 Twenty20 internationals, taking 36 wickets with an average of 20.11.

The Steelbacks begin their quest for T20 glory when they host Gloucestershire on June 13th.

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