Mitchell Johnson © Getty Images
Mitchell Johnson © Getty Images

Oct 9, 2014

Kevin Pietersen revealed that Mitchell Johnson‘s hostile spell of fast-bowling had caused the English players to tremble in fear during the 2013-14 edition of the Ashes in Australia.

The South Africa-born English batsman, who is currently involved in a major spat with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) over allegations of ‘bullying’ in the English dressing room, Johnson’s fear-inducing spell during the opening Test at the Gabba (Brisbane) had caused him to lose his appetite. Several other English players, especially the tail-enders were allegedly “scared” of facing him, according to cricket.com.au.

It was Jonathan Trott‘s dismissal on the second day, which sent waves of panic amongst the English batsmen and made Pietersen, who was playing his 100th Test, lose his appetite, according to a claim made by the exiled batsman in his book.

“Lunch? No thanks. I was sitting there, thinking: I could die here in the f**king Gabbattoir. How could Trotty, this calm, collected buddy of mine, play like that? Get hit like that? Get out like that?” Pietersen was quoted as writing in KP: The Autobiography.

“I had been petrified: if Trotty can get played like that there is no hope for me, because Trotty is normally so calm and cool,” added Pietersen.

Pietersen also recounted an exchange with Johnson, who was ridiculed by the English fans in the previous Ashes engagements, in the middle of the pitch during that match that signified the proceedings of the day.

“As I ran past Mitchell Johnson and I said to him, it’s me or you, buddy, and believe me, I’m less scared of getting out than you are scared of giving me a lot of runs. He looked at me, just stared at me, he didn’t say anything back. He kept staring and walked past,” Pieterson wrote in his autobiography.

The pioneer of the ‘switch-hit’ shot also praised Australian skipper Michael Clarke for the way he utilised Johnson during that series, in which the speedster was the leading wicket-taker by about a mile with 37 scalps from five Tests, including a haul of seven for 40 during England’s first innings of the second Test at Adelaide.

“Michael Clarke captained him brilliantly by using him in three-over bursts to keep him fresh throughout the day. And because he was never tired, the threat of him hung over us like a sword all day long,” said Pietersen, who had an average outing in that series with 294 runs from 10 innings at an average of less than 30.

More from Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography here