Mitchell Johnson intimidated the Indian batsmen with raw pace in the first One-Day International at Pune to get the better of them. Aayush Puthran feels his current form and renewed avatar can be put to good use by the Australians in the upcoming Ashes series.
“When I’ve been at my best, being aggressive, I bowl that ‘armpit’ ball or a nice ball to the throat of the batsman — and then I try to use the ball swinging, getting it up there for the lbws or bowleds or catches behind.”
- Mitchell Johnson, September 2013
It seems like a cruel hiding that Australia have done with Mitchell Johnson. Intimidation was being showcased in its finest form while he was bowling in the first One-Day International (ODI) against India at Pune. At a searing pace, constantly clocking above 150 kmph, Johnson was making the Indian batsmen hop at their crease like kangaroos would do in his land.
Even as the pitch in Pune played true, unlike most others in the country, it isn’t that hard to fancy that he would be a far more lethal proposition in English and Australian conditions for five-day matches. Keeping him out of the Playing XI in their Test side isn’t the best option currently. While he has enjoyed a phenomenal run in the last one year, there is a new avatar with which he has resurfaced; which George Bailey pleasantly claims “the intimidator”.
It is unfortunate that even as Australia are struggling to get a grip on their Test performances, they have a large pool of excellent pacers to choose from. However, in the bouncy Australian pitches that are likely to be dished out for the upcoming Ashes, Johnson would prove more than handy, especially given his current form.
The wicketkeeper had told Australian Associated Press, “It’s (Johnson’s bowling) one of the quickest I’ve probably kept to for a little while now… His rhythm is amazing but more importantly his accuracy is second to none at the moment… He’s swinging the ball nicely and hitting the stumps enough.”
Undeniably, he is leading the bowling department in the ongoing series against India, using his Indian Premier League (IPL) experience and current form to good use. Additionally, he would have been pleased to see Indian batsmen look rattled against his raw pace, which he unleashed on them.
To get the better of Indian batsmen on the flat tracks in the ongoing series will be an excellent morale booster for him and would do his selection case some good going into the Ashes 2013-14.
(Aayush Puthran is a reporter with CricketCountry. Mercurially jovial, pseudo pompous, perpetually curious and occasionally confused, he is always up for a light-hearted chat over a few cups of filter kaapi!)