Mitch Johnson Admits he Crumbled in Ashes
Aussie quick Mitchell Johnson has admitted that he was overawed by the occasion of the Ashes last summer and that his form problems were more mental than physical.
Speaking at the Australian team’s first training camp in Brisbane, Johnson said that the aura of the occasion overwhelmed him.
Australian fans saw the absolute best and worst of Johnson in Australia’s failed bid to win back the Ashes. A poor performance in Brisbane saw him saw him dropped for the Adelaide test, but the left hander turned it all around in Perth where a nine wicket haul had Australia back on brink of reclaiming the Ashes. However his radar deserted him in the Melbourne and Sydney tests, both of which England won by an innings.
“I guess it’s just the build-up and the pressure of the Ashes. I have not found it in any other series. I haven’t struggled that much with the pressures against other teams. It’s a big thing the Ashes,” Johnson said.
“I would like to get better at it. At times I think I put too much pressure on myself. At times I try and bowl the perfect ball all the time and then I put too much pressure on myself.”
The man charged with returning Johnson to his brilliant best is former test opening bowler Craig McDermott.
McDermott, who took 291 test wickets in 71 tests, is part of a major coaching overhaul, which Johnson believes will greatly benefit Australia’s fast bowlers.
“It’s good to have Craig on board with his test experience,” Johnson said.
“I haven’t worked on too much technically with him yet, just my fingers – split fingers and things like that, nothing too out there. But having him on tour in situations where we might come off the field and he might see something we’re not seeing. It’ll be good to have that experience.”
Johnson said that there were no lingering mental scars from the punishment he took last summer, and the fiery quick believes his form since the Ashes has been good.
“I can look at the World Cup and I felt like I performed okay over there towards the end,” Johnson said.
“I started to feel like I got a good rhythm up against Bangladesh, so I didn’t feel uncomfortable through the World Cup at all. And that’s the biggest one day tournament you can play. I’ve just got to use that experience and try to put that into test cricket.”
Johnson will get his next chance to impress on the test scene when Australia tour Sri Lanka in September and October. Johnson, who has never played in the country said he was looking forward to the opportunity.
“Obviously I’ve never played over there before so I’m looking forward to the challenge. I know they have a lot of flat decks over there and it can get very hot so it will be a challenge. They have some in form batsmen too in Sangakkara and Jayawardene and Dilshan can go off at any time,” he said.
As Australia’s spearhead bowler Johnson has a packed schedule ahead of him this summer. After five one dayers, and three tests against Sri Lanka in August and September the Aussies travel to South Africa in October and November before starting a three and a half month Australian summer in December.
Because of this heavy schedule, Johnson has decided that he will not take part in the Twenty20 Big Bash League this year.
“We’ve got a big summer coming up, Sri Lanka then South Africa. They’re going to be big tests for us in their home towns, and a big summer here, so that’s where my main focus is,” Johnson said.
“The Scorchers approached me and at the moment I’m just happy to focus on the summer coming up with India over here. It’s obviously a strong side, and it might give me a chance also to get back to grade cricket if the opportunity is there.”