Johnson back from brink
Australia paceman Mitchell Johnson says his form prior to being sidelined through injury was so bad that it could have prompted his retirement.
Johnson, who has been named in the squad for the one-day international tour of England that starts in June and the Australia A matches which follow it, has not played since succumbing to a toe injury in South Africa last November.
The injury came at a time when the 30-year-old was desperately struggling for form having taken just 13 wickets in six Tests at an average of 57 in 2011.
His confidence issues came to a head in Australia's record-breaking loss in the first Test against the Proteas.
Australia looked set to post an easy win after bowling out South Africa for just 96 and holding a first innings lead of 188, but crumbled to lose by eight wickets.
"That was really hard to come back from. It was a little bit embarrassing really," Johnson said.
"My wife came over because she could tell I was really struggling.
"Going into that (second) Test in Johannesburg I was unsure if I could perform to be honest. It was at that point where I really just wanted to get away from the game and step back from it.
"If I didn't get the injury, if I kept going, I could have got dropped and that could have been it. I'd probably lost a bit of interest in playing the game ... I think I got to the stage where I started to believe what was being said about me.
"(An early retirement) could have been on the cards for sure.
"The injury did come at the right time. For two months I was in a brace on my foot. I was pretty much doing nothing and I didn't miss cricket at all at that stage, it was actually good to get away from it."
Despite his lack of match practice, Johnson is confident he can contribute in England after working with mentor and legendary paceman Dennis Lillee during his six-month absence.
"I feel as strong and fit as I ever have," he said.
"I feel like I've got my confidence and my belief back so I'm ready to test it out and go out there and do the best job that I can.
"I'm that keen at the moment, the last couple of days I've just been itching to get out and play some cricket."