Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson believes the problems that derailed the first half of his Ashes summer have made him a better player. Johnson suffered serious lows in England - losing his accuracy, having his place under threat and a family dispute which became public - but after the ICC Cricketer of the Year award and a starring role in Australia’s Champions Trophy triumph he was confident of where he was.
“I built it up really high. Obviously it’s a big deal being the Ashes, but I probably built it up too much and got too excited about it all early,” Johnson said. “I didn’t take in the fact that their home crowd was right behind them all the way and I wasn’t used to that feeling, and obviously taking on the role as leader of the attack all got to me a little bit.”
Happy to be back in Perth after a long time away from home, Johnson said the lows experienced in England made him stronger. “I’m glad I recovered from it. It has definitely helped and is something you need to go through. It was a learning experience for me.”
Johnson, 27, reflected on the Champions Trophy win as a happy occasion for a side that struggled in the one-day game. “Sitting at the end of the game we felt pretty good about ourselves. Obviously we did lose the Ashes, but it was very fulfilling for us to win that tournament. Everyone was pretty happy,” he said. “I probably would [trade it for the Ashes] though. The big event for us was the Ashes, but you have to take each tournament as you go. We can’t dwell on the Ashes, we’ve won the Champions Trophy and are very happy.”
Johnson fought off stiff competition to take the Player of the Year award from fellow short-list nominees Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni, as well as England captain Andrew Strauss. During the voting period, Johnson played 17 Test matches, taking 80 wickets, which was easily the highest number by any Test bowler in the voting period. He also scored a total of 632 runs for Australia, including a century and three half-centuries, to register an average of 30.09. In 16 ODIs in that time he took 28 wickets at an average of 24.25 and an economy rate of 5.06.
“It was very exciting for me and was something that I didn’t expect,” he said. “It’s always good to get those personal achievements, but in the end it was great to win the Champions Trophy and take that away as well.”
Johnson now has 12 days off before joining up with Australia for their seven-ODI tour of India. He has ruled out playing for the Warriors in the Ford Ranger Cup and Sheffield Shield matches against Queensland, his former team, over the next week, instead opting to “chill out as much as possible”.
“It feels very strange. It has been close to five months, so it’s been a long time. I’m just looking forward to having a bit of a rest and being home with friends and family,” he said. “I feel good at the moment because I’m home and have just landed, the adrenaline is kicking in and I’m just excited to be back. Physically I feel fine and it’s just more of a mental drain than anything. The 12 days off will be good.”
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Sunday, October 11th, 2009 and is filed under Cricket, General.
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