A toe injury that kept Mitchell Johnson out of cricket for the entire Australian summer might have saved his career, the paceman said on Friday.
Johnson, who tore ligaments in his big toe during Australia's Test victory over South Africa in Johannesburg in November, said he had lost passion for the game last year and was unsure if he could continue to perform at the highest level.
"Going into that Test in Joburg, I was unsure if I could perform to be honest," the 30-year-old told reporters in Perth.
"It was at that point where I really just wanted to get away from the game and step back from it.
"The injury did come at the right time. I'd probably lost a bit of interest in playing the game.
"If I didn't get the injury, if I kept going, I could have got dropped and that could have been it.
"That (retirement) could have been on the cards for sure."
Johnson was named on Thursday in Australia's one-day squad for next month's tour of Ireland and England, with selectors hoping the enigmatic quick can regain top form in time for the Twenty20 World Cup in September.
The moody Johnson has previously admitted to suffering a crisis of confidence after an infamous spell of wayward bowling during Australia's Ashes tour of England in 2009.
The left-armer's wavering form, mixing erratic spells with occasionally devastating salvoes of swing bowling, has proved a constant source of frustration for Australian cricket fans and media.
Johnson, the ICC's cricketer-of-the-year in 2009, said he had been glad to be away from the spotlight while his toe recovered from surgery.
"I guess being away from the media helped a little bit, not copping it day in, day out," he said. "So that's been a bit of a relief."
Johnson's injury lay-off has coincided with the rise of young fast bowler James Pattinson and the resurgence of Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus into a potent bowling combination in Tests.
With Ryan Harris, Mitchell Starc and teenager Pat Cummins all pressing for selection, Johnson faces a battle to win his Test spot back, but will have a chance to impress selectors having been named in an Australia A squad for two four-day games against the England Lions in August.