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Steve Waugh backs Mitchell Johnson to emulate Dennis Lillee

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Steve Waugh (above) feels Mitchell Johnson can join the pantheon of great Australian fast bowlers © Getty Images

Sydney: Feb 22, 2014

Former Australian captain Steve Waugh has backed pace sensation Mitchell Johnson to equal the prowess of fast bowling legend Dennis Lillee, who reworked Johnson’s action 12 months ago.

Johnson has 255 wickets at 27 in 58 Tests while Lillee recorded 355 in 70 although Johnson’s 49 wickets in six matches at 13 entering the second Test against South Africa at Port Elizabeth had crowned him as a ”once in a generation” superstar.

According to News.com.au, Waugh said that he believes Johnson could join a pace pantheon headed by his mentor Lillee as the left-armer’s pace record was impressive even before his last comeback against India and England in 2013, adding that Johnson is destined to finish one of the great bowlers.

Stating that there is no way Johnson will ever look back, Waugh, who debuted in 1985, said that Johnson was always a wicket-taking fast bowler in Test cricket and scored a lot of runs, adding that he was written off prematurely and given a hard time about his waywardness.

The report mentioned that Johnson, who claimed 12 wickets in Australia’s 281-run victory in the series opener against South Africa in Pretoria, trails only Jason Gillespie (259), Craig McDermott (291) Brett Lee (310), Lillee, Glenn McGrath (563) and Shane Warne (708) on Australia”s Test wicket tally.

Waugh further said that Johnson is going to give batsmen around the world a ”pretty good run”, adding that the pacer is critical to Australia’s stunning renaissance and future of express fast bowling – a fading art since the West Indies’ dominance ended in 1995, and will be a role model for a whole generation of youngsters.

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