“It is over. I’ve bowled my final ball. Taken my final wicket”, said the Australian pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson who has left the whole cricket fraternity in a state of shock with his current decision to retire from all forms of cricket on Saturday.
“Today I announce my retirement from all forms of cricket,” the 36-year-old fast bowler wrote for PerthNow.
"It's over" – Mitchell Johnson brings down curtains on career, announces decision to retire from all forms of the game.
READ ⬇️https://t.co/Tk9wJFjh0N pic.twitter.com/F7hyGD4vGz
— ICC (@ICC) August 19, 2018
In July, Johnson had stated that he would retire from Big Bash League where he played a significant role in helping Perth Scorchers lift the BBL title in the 2016-17 season by taking 13 wickets at 15.46.
Johnson said that niggling back injuries are the sole reason behind his decision to retire. He said, “I had hoped to continue playing in various Twenty20 competitions around the world until perhaps the middle of next year. But the fact is my body is starting to shut down.”
“During this year’s Indian Premier League tournament I had a few back problems and that was probably a sign that it was time to move on.”, he added.
Mitchell Johnson speaks about his journey
“If I can’t play at 100 per cent then I can’t give my best to the team. And for me it’s always been about the team. I’d like to thank the Scorchers for the last two fantastic summers and the WACA for everything my adopted cricket home has done for me over the past decade. Christina Matthews and the team there have always bent over backwards to help me out. A huge thank you to the fans as well. I will never forget the atmosphere at the WACA Ground or the smiling faces of the kids. My competitive urge hasn’t left me and hopefully, that’s something I can use to channel into a coaching or mentoring role in the future. I’m a believer in sticking to your strengths and cricket is my strength,” he added.
Making his debut against New Zealand in Christchurch in 2005, Mitchell Johnson has taken 590 international wickets including 313 Test wickets at an average of 28.40. The highest point of his Test career came in the 2013-14 Ashes while he played a key role in Australia’s world cup triupmh in 2015 where he bagged 15 wickets.
Sharing the memories of ups and downs in his career, Johnson said, “Now it’s all over, the stand-out memories include the 2013/14 Ashes summer, the South African tours – including my only Test century in Cape Town in 2009 – and the World Cups. I saw more highs and lows than most cricketers and I’m proud that I was able to fight back from adversity in the latter part of my career and produce consistent performances. I made mistakes and I learnt from them. Slipping a long way down the pecking order as I battled a serious toe injury didn’t deter me. I’d already lost my Queensland contract as a youngster and I knew what it felt like.
The pacer seemed nostalgic as he said, “I also knew that I could make it back. It wasn’t that I thought I could. I knew that I could play for Australia again if I worked hard and really wanted it. At my best, I felt like I was meant to be out there and I didn’t have to force anything. It just happened. My manager recently reminded me I had won the ICC Cricketer of the Year twice. But more than the games, the trophies and achievements, I remember my close mates and miss the camaraderie.”
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Whether ODIs or Tests, the Townsville born pacer had always made the opposition fear with his bowling. As he retires, let’s have a look at 5 of his best performances:
1. 5/26 v India, Vadodara, 2007
Playing in a subcontinent is always tough for any non-Asian bowler but Mitchell Johnson’s maiden 5-wicket haul in ODIs proved the critics wrong. He took wickets of Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Robin Uthappa, and Murali Kartik as the hosts stumbled to 148 in 39.3 overs while Australia easily won this match by 9 wickets.
2. 4/30 and 5/39 v New Zealand, Brisbane, 2008
The young Johnson came in the time of need for Australia when Mitchell Johnson’s 4/30 helped the hosts to dismiss New Zealand for 156 after Australia were bowled out for just 214. Further, in the 2nd innings, he scalped 5/39 as New Zealand couldn’t survive against the pacer. Finally, Australia won the match by 149 runs.
3. 4/25 & 4/112 v South Africa, Johannesburg, 2009
Australia wanted revenge for the series loss at home to South Africa and it was Johnson who promised his team to bring back the pride Johnson in the first Test of the 2008-09 series. His 4-wicket haul gave Australia the much-needed 244 run lead in the 1st innings. In the 2nd innings, he again took 4 wickets as South Africa faced a huge defeat.
4. 4/61 & 5/42 v England, Brisbane, 2013
After he was mocked by the England fans in 2009 and at home in 2010-11, the left-arm pacer punished Cook’s men in the 1st test of Ashes. Taking 4 wickets in the 1st innings and 5 in the 2nd one, Johnson’s ferocious bowling demolished English players as Australia finished the match in just 4 days.
5. 7/40 v England, Adelaide, 2013
The Adelaide crowd witnessed something magical in 2013 when Mitchell Johnson terrorized England with his fast bowling in the 2nd Test. Meanwhile, it was hair-raising stuff from Johnson as he easily sent back Ben Stokes, Stuart Broad, Monty Panesar, Graeme Swann, Jimmy Anderson to completely tore apart the batting line-up of England after lunch. We can’t forget this epic performance by Johnson.
Indeed, cricket fans will miss Mojo forever!
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