Mitchell Johnson has called time on his international career, with the fast bowler announcing his intention to retire at the conclusion of the current second Test match against New Zealand in Perth.
“I feel now is the best time to say goodbye,” Johnson said. “I have been lucky enough to have had a wonderful career and enjoyed every moment of playing for my country. It’s been an incredible ride.
“But the ride has to come to an end at some point and to do so here at the Waca is very special. I’ve given the decision a lot of thought. Beyond this match, I’m just not sure that I can continue competing consistently at the level required to wear the baggy green.”
Following Tuesday morning’s announcement by Cricket Australia, Johnson was given a guard of honour by the fielding New Zealand team and a stirring ovation from the crowd as he emerged for his last Test innings shortly before lunch on the final day of play at the Waca Ground.
Johnson has looked a shadow of his former self during the Perth Test, failing to produce the kind of pace with the ball that once made him one of the most feared bowlers in the world. His efforts on Monday were rewarded with just one wicket for the concession of 157 runs from 28 overs – the most runs conceded by an Australian in a Test innings at the Waca.
The 34-year-old brings the curtain down on his Australia career as his country’s fourth highest Test wicket-taker with 311 – a figure that he may yet add to later on Tuesday. He passed Brett Lee’s total of 310 when he claimed the scalp of Doug Bracewell earlier in the Perth Test; Dennis Lillee (355), Glenn McGrath (563) and Shane Warne (708) remain out in front.
Johnson admitted his career has had its ups and downs – he considered retirement in 2009 before rediscovering his passion for the game – but he will mostly be remembered as a fearsome bowler who terrorised batting line-ups across the world, most notably England during the 2013-14 Ashes series when he took 37 wickets. South Africa, too, took a pasting from Johnson that season, taking his tally to 59 wickets for the two series at an average of 15.23.
“Dennis Lillee was certainly right many years ago when he identified a young Mitchell Johnson as a future great of Australian cricket,” Cricket Australia chairman David Peever said.
“In many ways the sight of Mitchell as a moustached tearaway conjured memories of Lillee at his peak, not just in appearance, but for some of the most devastating fast bowling ever produced by an Australian.
“I am sure there are many batsmen around the world breathing a sigh of relief right now, knowing that they no longer have to face him. He leaves the game as one of our all-time great bowlers and as an excellent example to young Australians about what they can achieve through hard work and dedication to their chosen craft.”
Johnson’s decision to retire comes soon after similar moves by fellow Australians Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Chris Rogers and Ryan Harris. Shane Watson, another to have called time on their international career recently, paid tribute to Johnson on social media:
Johnson also played 153 one-day internationals for Australia, taking 239 wickets at an average of 25.26 and a strike rate of 31.3 and featured in 30 Twenty20 internationals during which he took 38 wickets.
Source - the guardian