Written by Staff Writer
17 Nov, 2015 | 8:34 am
The decision that has been crowding Mitchell Johnson’s thinking over recent months has finally crystallised and he will end his international cricket career at the close of play in Perth later today(17). Johnson has confirmed that he will retire from all cricket immediately the second Test against New Zealand comes to a close at the WACA, and will not see out the current series against the Black Caps or the remainder of the Australia summer.
He leaves the game as Australia’s fourth-highest Test wicket taker with a current tally of 311 in his 73rd Tests, but more significantly remembered as a mercurial talent who came to embody a re-born Australian team that swept to a five-nil Ashes triumph two summers ago.
Johnson then took that rampaging form into a three-Test series against South Africa and addition to capturing a remarkable 59 wickets at an average of 15.23 over that period, he terrorised batsmen with his speed and aggression and was awarded the Allan Border Medal in 2014 as Australia’s most brilliant cricketer. He was also named the International Cricket Council’s Test Player of the Year after those exploits, to add to the ICC Player of the Year honour he received in 2009.
Only Shane Warne (708), Glenn McGrath (563) and Dennis Lillee (355) have taken more Test wickets than Johnson who is the only player among that quartet to also have notched a Test century with the bat. But Johnson also experienced some deep lows, most notably his loss of form during the 2010 Ashes series in England that saw him pilloried by English crowds and had him question his hunger for the game, and a serious foot injury in 2011 that forced him out of the game for a year. He used that time to regain his fitness and reignite his passion and returned in the second phase of his career as one of the most dominant, exciting players in the world.
The 34-year-old conceded in the lead-up to the current Test that he pondered retirement “most days” and those thoughts undoubtedly became more pressing as he laboured through a fruitless first innings on a WACA pitch that was once his greatest ally. It appears that any doubts Johnson might have felt about extending his career through to summer’s end in pursuit of the Test wicket benchmark of 355 set by his close friend and mentor Lillee were removed when he recorded forgettable figures of 1-157 in NZ’s first innings. He has also opted to finish his international career, which included 153 one-day internationals and 30 T20 appearances for his country, at the WACA which became his adopted home ground after shifting from his native Queensland in 2007.
Which means he will not take part in the historic day-night Test match against the Black Caps in Adelaide on November 27, having already indicated his misgivings about the pink ball to be used in that match and the shift away from the traditions of Test cricket that he valued highly.
Recently appointed Cricket Australia Chairman David Peever paid tribute to Johnson, who debuted for Australia a decade ago in an ODI in New Zealand and played his first Test at the Gabba two years later.
MITCHELL JOHNSON’S MAGNIFICENT NUMBERS
311 wickets from 73 Tests at an average of 28.10
239 wickets from 153 ODIs at an average of 25.26
38 wickets from 30 T20Is at an average of 20.97
12-127 – his career-best Test match figures recorded in Australia’s win over South Africa in Centurion in 2014
8-61 – his career-best Test innings figures recorded in Australia’s loss to South Africa in Perth in 2008
6-31 – his career-best ODI figures recorded in Australia’s win over Sri Lanka in Kandy in 2011
2 – Sir Garfield Sobers trophies, awarded to the ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2009 and 2014
2 – World Cup titles. He didn’t play a game in Australia’s undefeated 2007 campaign but was part of the squad
37 – Johnson’s stunning haul in the 2013-14 Ashes. It was five short of breaking the record for most scalps in an Ashes series, a feat of 41 that Rodney Hogg achieved in six Tests.
156.8 – kilometres per hour, the fastest speed his bowling was clocked at. It came in the 2013 Boxing Day Test against England.
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) November 17, 2015
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