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Dennis Lillee points to Mitchell Johnson’s success as yardstick for CA to assess his role

Mitchell Johnson ripped through the England team during the Ashes 2013-14 © Getty Images
Mitchell Johnson ripped through the England team during the Ashes 2013-14 © Getty Images

Sydney: May 9, 2014

Australian fast bowling legend Dennis Lillee has said that the stunning revival of his star student Mitchell Johnson is a helpful ‘yardstick’ if his role and influence as the game’s premier fast-bowling coach is to be assessed on any measure. Lillee has put his contract dispute with Cricket Australia (CA) into perspective, after the board failed to come to terms for a new contract for him, by spotlighting Johnson’s revival, which was the pumping piston behind Australia’s series wins over England and South Africa.

According to News.com.au, Lillee said that his contribution to reinvigorating Johnson’s career to becoming the best performing fast bowler in the world last year is a helpful yardstick if his role and influence is to be assessed on any measure, adding that he and his team worked long hours to achieve Johnson’s performances of the last 12 months.

Lillee, who assisted Johnson in refining his action and encouraged him to lengthen his run-up, also said that the difference between the Australian team in England and their 5-0 Ashes success in Australia was largely due to Johnson’s presence, confidence, technique and impact.’

Lillee, who also improved Johnson’s balance and running style by instructing him to do novel drills, said that his role as a coach with the Australian and Western Australian teams has required a commitment that has embraced one-on-one coaching, computer analysis of players’ actions and performance and remote coaching and support. Lillee further said that he is disappointed that CA has chosen to debate in the public arena the value of the services he has provided to Australian cricket, along with what should have been a sensible discussion about nominal reward for ongoing performance.’ Lillee has left the door open for a possible return though it appears unlikely before next summer.

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