The fiery Australian speed star Mitchell Johnson decided to bid adieu international cricket after the end of the Perth Test. Johnson will ply his trade in Indian Premier League and Big Bash League Twenty 20.
The 34-year-old two-time World Cup winning fast bowler has been ineffective in the first two Test at Brisbane and Perth. He has taken just 5 wickets at an average of 64. He will retire with the immediate end of the fifth day of the W.A.C.A Test on Tuesday, November 17.
It is expected having announced retirement Johnson will bowl his last spell on the fifth and final day of the Test after Australia declare their second innings.
“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 thoughts. Beyond this match, I’m just not sure that I can continue competing consistently at the level required to wear the baggy green (cap).
“My career has certainly had its up and downs, but I can honestly say I have given it my all and am proud of everything I have achieved. To win an Ashes series and a World Cup is something I will treasure forever.”
Johnson was part of the Australia’s 2007 and 2015 World Cup victorious team. This year he also played an instrumental role in Australia’s fifth World Cup victory in the final against New Zealand at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Including the Perth Test, he played 73 matches and has 311 wickets in his name. He is the fourth highest wicket-taker in the history of Australia cricket.
However, there was a buzz on Monday- the fourth day of the Perth Test- that Johnson would retire, and the speculation congealed when his Queensland –based manager Sam Halvorsen was seen in the Australian dressing at the end of the fourth day’s play.
Meanwhile, Johnson revealed that he was considering his retirement after the lackluster Ashes campaign in England where Australia lost the series 2-3. After the end of the Ashes he sensed the twilight has loomed in his eight years long international career. Johnson made his debut against Sri Lanka at Gabba, Brisbane in the summer of 2007.
Johnson in New Zealand’a first innings conceded 157 runs in 28 overs. His per overrun rate was 5.60. He has taken the wicket of lower order batsman Doug Bracewell. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were sharing the new ball ahead of him. Johnson’s last fifer in Test match came 15 Test ago against South Africa in last February at Centurion against South Africa. He ended the match with a 12 wicket haul.
“My family have been by my side throughout and I could not have achieved all I have without their support. They have made a lot of sacrifices, especially my beautiful wife Jess who has provided me with unconditional support, and I am incredibly grateful for that,” Johnson said.
“They say the greatest thing about playing sport is the friends you make along the way and I have been fortunate enough to play and work with some incredible people and have cemented lifelong friendships.
“I would certainly like to thank the people of Australia, and all those around the world, who have supported me. The encouragement I have received has been extremely humbling and playing in front of them is certainly something I will miss.”
Johnson’s decision to retire will completely change the Australian dressing room. He joined the line of a couple of veteran Australian players who recently retired, including Michael Clarke, Bradd Haddin and Chris Rogers.
Cricket Australia chairman David Peever praised Johnson’s illustrative career. Johnson has taken 239 ODI wickets in 153 matches and 38 T20 wickets in 30 matches. He was also a handy batsman. He has one hundred in Test and two half centuries in ODI cricket. His Test highest is unbeaten 123 and ODI best is unbeaten 73.
Johnson especially praised legendary Australian pacer Dennis Lillee. for his career with Australian national team.
“Dennis Lillee was certainly right many years ago when he identified a young Mitchell Johnson as a future great of Australian cricket,” he 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.
“There have been countless highlights, but no one will ever forget his incredible performance in the 2013-14 Ashes when he took that series by storm, only to repeat those efforts soon after in the history-making win over South Africa in South Africa.”