Full name Mitchell Johnson
Born October 18, 1981, Wondai, Queensland
Current age 29 years 94 days
Playing role Bowler
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm offbreak
Height 1.82 m
Major teams Australia, New South Wales, Queensland
Mitchell Johnson Profile:
Mitchell Johnson remains a once in a generation bowler more than a decade after he was first spotted by Dennis Lillee as a 17-year-old. No other fast man has been able to copy his successful left-arm method that mixes bouts of waywardness with spot-on strike-power. Off the field he is so shy that it is hard to believe he has taken on the role as Australia’s chief marksman, a weapon capable of hitting batsmen and 155kph.
An athlete who started out preferring tennis, Johnson was late to focus on cricket and suffered early in his career with four back stress fractures that almost floored him for good. He persevered, driving a plumbing van when he lost his Queensland contract, and became only the fourth Australian left-arm paceman to pass 100 Test wickets. With a strong, flowing run to the crease, Johnson can become mechanical in delivery, especially if his wrist, a long-term concern, is in the wrong position. When it’s bad, he sprays the ball on both sides of the wicket like an old-fashioned firebrand. When it’s perfect, there is probably no better bowler in the game.
The late swing at pace is a major problem, along with sharp bounce, and sometimes it’s just the angle across the batsmen that undoes them. South Africa suffered the most brutal spells in 2008-09 while England’s run-makers enjoyed his wonkiest ones during the 2009 Ashes. Whatever his mood, he has become a must-have for Ricky Ponting since debuting in 2007 – and that’s before considering his batting.
Johnson’s belief in his run-making is so strong that he would like to open in Twenty20s or one-dayers in the future, and he will always be able to claim his Test average was 99.00 after five games. His style is smooth enough for a specialist and when he nails a big swing it looks as effortless as Ernie Els on the golf course. The owner of a Test hundred and a 96, both against the might of South Africa, he will be mildly miffed if he doesn’t finish his career as a genuine allrounder.
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