When Mitchell Johnson wanted get away from cricket

With Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Jackson Bird suffering from long-term back injuries, Mitchell Johnson (above) is likely to join Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle in the pace bowling department for the upcoming Ashes series © Getty Images

Oct 20, 2013

He was left out of the Ashes series in England earlier this, yet, Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson refuses to step back and is working on with Dennis Lillee and Terry Alderman, to regain his form ahead of the Ashes down under, where he is expected to be recalled in the squad.
 
Johnson suffered a stress fracture of the foot two years ago, which ruled him out of series against New Zealand and India. It came at a time when the selectors needed a reason to drop him as his form was poor and his confidence was low.
 
“Having my injury and that time away from the game was really beneficial for me,” Johnson was quoted as saying by news.com.au.

Remembering the Test series in South Africa, where he shortened his run-up as he was struggling, Johnson admitted that he wanted to get injured at that time to just run away from the game.
 
“I could still bowl a decent pace off a short run but mentally at that stage I was pretty much gone. I was sort of hoping to get injured at that time just to get away from the game as bad as it sounds,” Johnson said.
 
“When you’re on tour you just don’t get the chance to work on the things you want to, but it’s been really good to get back, get my strength back, freshen up mentally,” he added.
 
The Mumbai Indians bowler, who will turn 32 in a fortnight, is in India for the ongoing One-Day International (ODI) series. Craig McDermott, who returned as Australia’s Test fast bowling coach, praised Johnson.
 
“I think Mitchell is bowling very well at the moment. He’s bowling fast, that’s for sure,” McDermott said.
 
“He’s getting a bit of shape back into the right-hander, which is important, and his seam position is better from what I can see on the television,” he added.
 
“Certainly his fitness is not an issue. Over the last few years he’s been one of the fittest and strongest in the side so it’s really just getting his confidence.”
 
Alderman, who has been the nation’s one of the most brilliant swing bowlers, has been mentoring the pacer.
 
Speaking about working with Alderman, Johnson said, “He suggested this new wrist position and was talking about it a lot, so that’s something I’ve worked on.”
 
“I’m always going to be a slingy bowler, so that wrist position which I’ve got has been quite important for me. It’s always been talked about. I’m pretty comfortable where it is now.”
 
Johnson also added that he has lengthened his run-up.
 
“I’ve got a bit more momentum through the crease now. I’m not lagging through the crease, sitting on my back leg for too long.”
 
“My lines have been good and my pace has been up, which has been a bit of a surprise because it wasn’t actually something I’d been working on,” he concluded.