Australian pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson has revealed that he wanted to retire from international cricket after Australia’s disappointing Ashes campaign a few months ago. Johnson, who now prepares to take on New Zealand at home, was skeptical about his future post the Australia’s humiliating series defeat to England.
Johnson, however, admitted that motivation from the likes of Dennis Lillee and Brett Lee helped him a lot. “It definitely has crossed my mind (retirement), especially with the guys retiring,” Johnson said. “A lot of those guys I played a lot of cricket with have moved on and it definitely makes you question yourself. I definitely have questioned myself in the six weeks I’ve been home, but I had that desire when I saw the young guys out there performing and it really urged me and pushed me to get out there and play. I actually went for a run and was pushing myself.”
“Brett Lee changed it a little bit because he played for a while longer. Speaking to some other people like Dennis, he seems to think I can go for a few more years as well. It depends on the individual, to be honest, I had that year out of the game really with my toe injury, I was a late starter to the game. So I think it’s more mind than anything, my body’s still holding up pretty well,” said the southpaw.
Johnson also said that despite all fitness woes, he was raring to go. “I’ve had little niggles here and there, but I’m able to get through them. It’s more mind. I’m really looking forward to the summer, getting back on fair wickets with a bit of pace and bounce, good for batting and for bowling. I’d love to get a few wickets and get that tally back up again.”
Johnson also spoke about his form throughout the year and summarized it. “I was definitely worn down physically but I think I can always manage physically though,” Johnson said. “It’s more mentally that I felt really drained even through the England tour at times. Constantly getting hammered by the crowds does take its toll, but also the long year we’ve had with the World Cup. It was a huge build-up, to win that and then I went to IPL and played there. Was pretty flat throughout that, and then got to the West Indies and started to pick up a bit.
“The Ashes always takes it out of you anyway, it’s such a huge occasion and was definitely great to get back home after that. I personally think if I’d played that one-day series there was a chance of burnout or injury, that’s how I felt within myself. That’s why I missed that one-day series, getting fresh to be ready for a big summer and hopefully be in really good form and play really good cricket,” said Johnson.