Mitchell-Johnson11

1. Johnson has shared a good working relationship with Dennis Lillee, the Australian great. At the age of 17, Lillee had tipped Johnson for great success and he did not let him down. Johnson worked with Lillee at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai in 2007. It was Johnson’s second stint of training under Lillee. The former Australian pacer also worked with Johnson in the lead-up to the Ashes 2013-14, a series that saw him make a remarkable comeback.

2. Johnson represented Australia at the ICC under-19 World Cup in 2000. His teammates then were Shane Watson, Nathan Hauritz, Michael Clarke, Ed Cowan, Shaun Marsh and Andrew McDonald.  He also played for Australia Under-19 in three one-dayers against Sri Lanka in 2001.

3. A few years into his career, Johnson’s life was at crossroads as injuries troubled him. As a result, he was axed from Queensland’s contract list and he was forced to drive plumbing vans. It was then that he played some club cricket in Brisbane as a batsman.

4. Johnson is the 398th player to play Test cricket for Australia. He made his Test debut against Sri Lanka in 2007 after Glenn McGrath had retired. McGrath had presented him his Baggy Green on his debut at Brisbane.

Mitchell Johnson poses with the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy © Getty Images
Mitchell Johnson poses with the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy © Getty Images

5. Johnson was named the ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2009 and was awarded the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy. He was the second Australian after Ricky Ponting to win this award.

6. Johnson is amongst the most feared bowlers in the world, thanks to his thunderous pace. Graeme Smith, the former South African skipper, has borne the brunt of Johnson’s fury a few times. In 2009, Johnson broke Smith’s hand twice. Jacques Kallis also received a bloody jaw as Johnson struck him on the face the same year. In 2014, Ryan McLaren was hit on the head during a Test match and was then sidelined. Later in the year, McLaren was hit on the arm by Johnson and he suffered a hairline fracture as a result.

7. Brendan Nash, the former West Indies batsman was Johnson’s roommate in their young days. It is quite a coincidence that both the players lost their state contracts at the same time. While Johnson went on to play for Australia, Nash moved to Jamaica for greener pastures. In 2009, Johnson was up against Nash in Test cricket on opposite sides, when West Indies toured Australia.

8. Before the Ashes 2013-14, Johnson had mixed success against the old rivals. The Barmy Army, the popular English fan-group, penned a song to unnerve Johnson and it remains a part of their song-book. The lyrics go as follows: “He bowls to the left… He bowls to the rightttttttt.. That Mitchell Johnson His bowling is shite!” Not sure the Barmy Army would sing it again after what happened Down Under in the summer of 2013-14!

Mitchell Johnson brought the fashion of moustaches as various other cricketers emulated him and some even sported their own unique style of moustaches © Getty Images
Mitchell Johnson brought the fashion of moustaches as various other cricketers emulated him and some even sported their own unique style of moustaches © Getty Images

9. Johnson’s moustache became the talk of the town during the Ashes 2013-14. The “handlebar” moustache added to his persona in the summer of 2013-14 as he blew England away with some breathtaking performances. Johnson had grown the moustache in support of Movember. In the month of November, men grow facial hair. This is done to raise awareness with regards to prostate cancer and other male-related health problems.

Mitchell Johnson with his wife Jessica Bratich © Getty Images
Mitchell Johnson with his wife Jessica Bratich © Getty Images

10. Johnson married Jessica Bratich in 2011. Bratich holds a black belt in karate.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)