Johnson on Kohli
“I think the short ball shouldn’t be forgotten. It’s still a useful weapon in Twenty20 cricket.” – Mitchell Johnson © Getty Images

Australia’s former pace southpaw Mitchell Johnson has a lot to say about pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile, importance of a fast bowler in the team and India’s chances in ICC World T20 2016. Johnson believes Coulter-Nile won’t be affected by the ‘pace spearhead’ tag. Like Johnson, Coulter-Nile often clocks 90 mph, and is known for instilling fear in the hearts of the batsmen by firing boisterous thunderbolts. This fiery quality of Coulter-Nile can be used as a significant weapon on India’s batting-friendly tracks, thinks Johnson. Also read: T20 World Cup 2016, Australia vs New Zealand: Steven Smith, Shane Watson, James Faulkner to use heavy bats to counter spin

“There’s been some talk that Nathan Coulter-Nile is now the leader of this pace attack, but I don’t think he’ll look at it that way,” Johnson wrote in a column for FoxSports, adding, “He’ll just be focusing on playing the cricket that works best for him.” Considering Australia are scheduled to play two matches in Mohali and one is Dharamsala, there will be something on offer for the Australian pace bowling unit, as reported on cricket.co.au.

“I think the conditions will actually be suited to his style of bowling. He’s a good ‘finisher’, he can start well with the new ball and he can swing it throughout the innings. Now, rather than worrying about being the leader of the attack, he just needs to go out there and bowl fast and aggressive – then he’ll be able to lead by example.” Also read: India vs Pakistan, T20 World Cup 2016, Match 19 at Kolkata, Preview: Battered India look to bounce back against arch rivals

In the tournament opener between India and New Zealand, fast bowlers such as Tim Southee and Trent Boult were kept out of the playing XI. But Johnson believes fast bowlers are vital if spinners go for runs. “It’s no surprise that most pitches at the tournament are going to favour the spinners, but I still think our pace bowlers have a crucial role to play in India. You’ve really got to nail your yorkers, having a good change of pace is important over there, and I also think the short ball shouldn’t be forgotten. It’s still a useful weapon in Twenty20 cricket, because you don’t want the batsman knowing that every ball is going to be full.”

Meanwhile, after India’s star batsman Virat Kohli’s comment on India being the top contenders, Johnson said Kohli’s side are “favourites in their own mind” after New Zealand pulled off an upset against them. Johnson believes such comments will only add pressure on India. “From our experience playing in the one-day World Cup at home last year, we just wanted to enjoy every moment and saviour the experience but we still tried to take the focus off ourselves, rather than adding to it,” he wrote. Also read: T20 World Cup 2016: Australia stunned with New Zealand’s win against India

Johnson disapproves Kohli’s idea of showing confidence by saying it in media and not being able to deliver when it matters. “Going into a big tournament like that, there’s pressure on every team. Putting even more pressure on your side is just setting yourself up for disaster. When you start tagging your own team as favourites, that’s when alarm bells should start going off. Now (India) have lost their first game and there will be all sorts of pressure for their next match, which is against Pakistan. As a cricketer you don’t want to be too confident – you want to have self-belief but coming out and saying it in the media and then not being able to back it up isn’t a great look,” he added.