So far it’s been the ‘Summer of Mitch’, and if the man himself has anything to do with it, the good times are going to keep on rolling.
Mitchell Johnson’s resurgence as an international cricketer has been nothing short of remarkable, with his 37 wickets and three man of the match awards easily giving him man of the series honours in Australia’s five-nil Ashes annihilation of England.
The good news for Alastair Cook and his men is that things can only get better. The bad news, with Johnson in his current mood for British blood, that may be unlikely. His famous moustache may now be gone, however with the superstar claiming today it gave him the same aggression and power that used to come from Australia’s finest ever quick Dennis Lillee, expect to see it back soon.
“Looking back at the Ashes series and the mo, I think it was definitely intimidating at times I’m sure. That’s why I’m bringing it back for the (South African) Test series”, Johnson told press at Brisbane’s Allan Border Field.
“You look back at some of the past fast bowlers like Dennis Lillee and Merv Hughes, and it definitely makes a bit of statement”, he continued.
Johnson wasn’t picked in Australia’s squad for the winter Ashes series that his team lost three-nil, instead having to bide his time to have a crack at England’s batsmen during the preceding ODI series, and it was here that his push for Test reinstatement began.
The Aussies won two-one in a rain affected five game series and Johnson played a starring role, with his dismissal of Jonathan Trott right out of the fast-bowling top draw.
Having set up England’s number three with a superb bouncer in game two at Old Trafford, he then followed it up with another brute of a ball; a rising delivery which collected Trott’s gloves and flew through to Matthew Wade behind the stumps. Almost instantaneously, there was a thought around the cricketing world – ‘this guy’s not done with yet’.
After proving the key difference between the two sides for the last two-months, Johnson wants to inflict more pain on Cook, and is not about to let up just because the England skipper is going through a rough patch, clearly stating he doesn’t feel sorry for any international cricketers, having been through many career low-points himself.
His wicket taking ball throughout the Ashes, particularly to the tail, was the bouncer, and it is obvious he’s not about to remove the strike delivery from his repertoire just because the red Kookaburra is not in use, saying it can be just as dangerous in the 50-over format.
“I think I proved that in the last one-day series in England and India. You can still use the short ball and be aggressive. I really enjoy bowling with the white ball and it swings a lot more”.
Trott and Pietersen are gone, but Bell, Root, Cook, Carberry and Ballance still remain, and it looks as though this tour of English hell and embarrassment has a bit to play out still.