Australia news May 11, 2012

Injury stopped me from quitting cricket - Johnson

ESPNcricinfo staff

Fast bowler Mitchell Johnson has revealed that had it not been for the foot injury he sustained in South Africa last November, he would by now have retired from international cricket. Johnson, who was recalled to Australia's ODI squad for their upcoming tour of England and Ireland, said the injury had come at the "right time".

Johnson injured ligaments in his big left toe while batting in the second Test against South Africa at Wanderers in November 2011 and missed the entire Australian season due to surgery. "Going into that Test in Johannesburg, I was unsure if I could perform, to be honest. It was at that point where I really just wanted to get away from the game and step back from it," Johnson said. "The injury did come at the right time. I'd probably lost a bit of interest in playing the game.

"If I hadn't got the injury, if I had kept going, I could have got dropped and that could have been it. That [retirement] could have been on the cards for sure. I guess being away from the media helped a little bit, not copping it day in, day out. So that's been a bit of a relief."

Johnson said his poor performance in the first Test against South Africa, which Australia lost by eight wickets after holding a first innings lead of 188, dented his confidence. "That was really hard to come back from. It was a little bit embarrassing really," he said. "My wife came over because she could tell I was really struggling." Johnson ended the Test with figures of 1 for 87 and was the most expensive of all the Australian bowlers.

Australia's selector John Inverarity was hopeful that Johnson would make an impact on his return. "He [Johnson] is also in strong contention for the ICC World Twenty20 and needs to be in the set-up and have some quality competitive cricket leading into this. The National Selection Panel is looking forward to Mitchell being reinvigorated after being out of the game for six months," Inverarity said.