Australia news July 12, 2011

Johnson says no to BBL

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Mitchell Johnson has boldly turned his back on the Twenty20 Big Bash League in order to keep himself fit for one of Australia's most taxing Test summers. Having fielded an offer from the Perth Scorchers, Johnson decided it would do him little good to try to squeeze T20 appearances in between home Test series against New Zealand and India, which follow winter and spring tours to Sri Lanka and South Africa.

At 29, Johnson is conserving his resources to concentrate on international cricket. It is a sound decision given that he is still to harness the consistency befitting an Australian spearhead - one of the chief tasks confronting the new bowling coach Craig McDermott will be to help Johnson do so. Johnson also indicated a desire to go back to grade cricket when he has the chance, the sort of attitude in short supply among many Australian first-class cricketers.

"At the moment I've decided not to sign with any of the Twenty20 sides," Johnson told reporters in Brisbane at Australia's training camp. "The Scorchers approached me and at the moment I'm just happy to focus on the summer coming up.

"With India coming over, they're obviously a strong side, and it might give me a chance also to go back to grade cricket if the opportunity's there. We've got a big summer coming up, Sri Lanka first, then South Africa, they're going to be big Tests for us in their home towns, and a big summer here, so that's where my main focus is."

Where in the past Australian players were encouraged by Cricket Australia to think twice about accepting overseas T20 contracts, this time the game's administrators have been actively encouraging their nationally-contracted talent to sign with BBL teams, ostensibly to help market the new competition. Johnson is the first to ignore these entreaties.

CA had hoped that all of its most high-profile players would take part in the first round of the BBL, as part of a concerted push to grow the game's audience and revenue.

"I'm just going to take it one step at a time," Johnson said of the upcoming season. "We're playing Sri Lanka; I haven't played a Test series there. I know the wickets are pretty flat and it's quite hot over there as well. They've got Kumar Sangakkara in unbelievable form, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan can go off at any time, they've got such a great side."

While he is still to do complete justice to his talent, Johnson is increasingly aware of his advancing years; he is little more than two years younger than McDermott was when he retired from the game in 1996. Johnson trained with plenty of purpose during the off-season, rejuvenating his body for the long days in the field that can be expected against strong line-ups such as Sri Lanka's and India's.

"I'm feeling pretty good at the moment," Johnson said. "I've got plenty of years in me, I don't know if I'm reaching my peak now, but I'm always working as hard as I can to be as strong as I can and as fit as I can.

"That's why it's been a good break for me, I've been able to go back and do a bit of running, do a lot of strength work and just do different things outside of cricket. So I feel very strong at the moment."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Timmuh on July 14, 2011, 8:39 GMT

    This is the first piece of good news ever regarding either the BBL and the first for a very long time regarding Mitchell Johnson.

  • on July 14, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    I'm an indian, and im a huge fan of mitch (love his bowling action) and its great to see him putting his country first, and not like those Greedy Indian players who are just running behind money in IPL including Sachin. Way to go mitch, all the best. i think that bollinger and hussy should learn from mitch. They are playing in useless ipl and getting injured . I being an indian would like that all indian players follow the suit but its useless. The media will not speak against the board and all the players are mad after money doing endorsements when they were given rest.hope the good sense prevails.i think that bollinger and hussy should learn from mitch. They are playing in useless ipl and getting injured . I being an indian would like that all indian players follow the suit but its useless. The media will not speak against the board and all the players are mad after money doing endorsements when they were given rest.hope the good sense prevails.

  • on July 14, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    anthr aussie who takes his test cricket seriously .. country over money .. gd job mitch .. wish Zaheer, Sachin n Sehwag wud learn sumthing frm this .. n yes .. Gayle too ..

  • Trapper439 on July 14, 2011, 3:37 GMT

    I like the way he talks about having an 'opportunity' to play grade cricket. The absence of International players from grade and Shield matches weakens Australian cricket, and denies up and coming players the chance to learn by playing against the best in the country. Well done, Mitch.

  • Ozcricketwriter on July 13, 2011, 20:54 GMT

    Mitch continues to make foolish decisions. This isn't going to help him at all. Mitch continues to be a man who doesn't know his own game. Wasn't it said that he needs to keep playing in order to maintain his form? Foolish, foolish, decision.

  • jonesy2 on July 13, 2011, 18:26 GMT

    so i think the consensous is: good on you mitch you superstar focus on the whole lot of cricket ahead and hope that others follow suit.

  • on July 13, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    Positive thinking Mitch... australia has a big summer coming up and you're gonna have to play an important role in the bowling attack and best of luck on this summer just hope you bowl line and length and not spray it around.........

  • sajansilwal on July 13, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    a very positive attitude has been shown here. I think this will act as an encouragement for himself and others around him to perform better in the upcoming Tests.

  • on July 13, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    I'm an indian, and im a huge fan of mitch (love his bowling action) and its great to see him putting his country first, and not like those Greedy Indian players who are just running behind money in IPL.

    Way to go mitch, all the best.

  • on July 13, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    Ok Mitch, but I hope you can keep your bowling fairly vertical this summer, and not at an angle. Otherwise I will expecting another Mitchell to replace you in the squad.

  • Timmuh on July 14, 2011, 8:39 GMT

    This is the first piece of good news ever regarding either the BBL and the first for a very long time regarding Mitchell Johnson.

  • on July 14, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    I'm an indian, and im a huge fan of mitch (love his bowling action) and its great to see him putting his country first, and not like those Greedy Indian players who are just running behind money in IPL including Sachin. Way to go mitch, all the best. i think that bollinger and hussy should learn from mitch. They are playing in useless ipl and getting injured . I being an indian would like that all indian players follow the suit but its useless. The media will not speak against the board and all the players are mad after money doing endorsements when they were given rest.hope the good sense prevails.i think that bollinger and hussy should learn from mitch. They are playing in useless ipl and getting injured . I being an indian would like that all indian players follow the suit but its useless. The media will not speak against the board and all the players are mad after money doing endorsements when they were given rest.hope the good sense prevails.

  • on July 14, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    anthr aussie who takes his test cricket seriously .. country over money .. gd job mitch .. wish Zaheer, Sachin n Sehwag wud learn sumthing frm this .. n yes .. Gayle too ..

  • Trapper439 on July 14, 2011, 3:37 GMT

    I like the way he talks about having an 'opportunity' to play grade cricket. The absence of International players from grade and Shield matches weakens Australian cricket, and denies up and coming players the chance to learn by playing against the best in the country. Well done, Mitch.

  • Ozcricketwriter on July 13, 2011, 20:54 GMT

    Mitch continues to make foolish decisions. This isn't going to help him at all. Mitch continues to be a man who doesn't know his own game. Wasn't it said that he needs to keep playing in order to maintain his form? Foolish, foolish, decision.

  • jonesy2 on July 13, 2011, 18:26 GMT

    so i think the consensous is: good on you mitch you superstar focus on the whole lot of cricket ahead and hope that others follow suit.

  • on July 13, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    Positive thinking Mitch... australia has a big summer coming up and you're gonna have to play an important role in the bowling attack and best of luck on this summer just hope you bowl line and length and not spray it around.........

  • sajansilwal on July 13, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    a very positive attitude has been shown here. I think this will act as an encouragement for himself and others around him to perform better in the upcoming Tests.

  • on July 13, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    I'm an indian, and im a huge fan of mitch (love his bowling action) and its great to see him putting his country first, and not like those Greedy Indian players who are just running behind money in IPL.

    Way to go mitch, all the best.

  • on July 13, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    Ok Mitch, but I hope you can keep your bowling fairly vertical this summer, and not at an angle. Otherwise I will expecting another Mitchell to replace you in the squad.

  • imrun_99 on July 13, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    Good to hear that he still love test cricket,,,many players dont want play test cricket

  • MinusZero on July 13, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    He is assuming he will be selected. Doesnt warrant selection on last years test performances

  • therealfighter on July 13, 2011, 3:20 GMT

    i think that bollinger and hussy should learn from mitch. They are playing in useless ipl and getting injured . I being an indian would like that all indian players follow the suit but its useless. The media will not speak against the board and all the players are mad after money doing endorsements when they were given rest.hope the good sense prevails.i think that bollinger and hussy should learn from mitch. They are playing in useless ipl and getting injured . I being an indian would like that all indian players follow the suit but its useless. The media will not speak against the board and all the players are mad after money doing endorsements when they were given rest.hope the good sense prevails.

  • farkin on July 13, 2011, 2:20 GMT

    well done Mitchell Johnson you are doing the right thing. t20 should be for the you players to get a start and for the old players like Sehwag, Tendulkar, Gambhir,Sreeshant & Zaheer Khan to make a lot of money before they retire

  • crystosis on July 13, 2011, 1:35 GMT

    It would be funny if he is injured in the first test

  • fazald on July 12, 2011, 23:57 GMT

    Considering the comments by aussie cricket fans as well many fans overseas it is very clear that the present administrators of CA have no idea what is best for the game in this country and the players at the present time.They don't seem to have learnt a lesson from the ashes debacle either when players were already tired & some injured after a gruelling series against India & a limited over series sandwiched against Sri Lanka which England exploited to the hilt. If we lose to India on home turf for the first time I reckon CA should take the blame. Atleast some commonsense should have prevailed when players like Johnson himself realizes the stupidity of CA & I reckon the majority of aussie cricketers themselves would have the same opinion unless they are too greedy. Hope the "Argus Review " committee will look into this & make the necessary recommendations for the future of aussie cricket. A cleanup at the helm would be the answer if test cricket needs to survive in this country

  • mightymf2000 on July 12, 2011, 23:38 GMT

    OK Mitch. But if your wayward during the T20 games against Sri Lanka and India it is due to recent lack of T20 games.

  • xenon555 on July 12, 2011, 23:04 GMT

    Well if Mitch has an injury then his choice makes sense. Why further aggrevate the injury and risk his position on the test team. However, real champions will compete whenever and wherever possible to try to improve their skills. And the IPL is an excellent tournament. You have a guy like Badrinath getting guidance from Mike Hussey and improving dramatically. Or an Ishant Sharma observing Dale Steyn. An absolute champion would compete as much as he possibly could wherever and whenever.

  • Wozza-CY on July 12, 2011, 22:01 GMT

    A decision to be respected from Johnson. Being cynical about it, the oz players who don't play the various T20 leagues around the world i.e. Clarke, Ponting & now Johnson, make that much money from endorsements that they don't need to chase this money. Good to see Mitch is leaving that dosh for the more needy younger folk!

  • Stark62 on July 12, 2011, 19:56 GMT

    Sehwag should learn from this guy!

    If he had done the surgery right after the WC and skipped the ipl then, he would have made the 1st Test at lords against Eng easily or even the Test series against the Windies.

    kudos to you Johnson!

  • PKcric4evr on July 12, 2011, 17:43 GMT

    well if he doesnt want to play...

  • Aussasinator on July 12, 2011, 17:02 GMT

    Nice to see an Australian cricketer not thinking of money these days! Hats off !

  • tomhedley on July 12, 2011, 15:40 GMT

    This lad is the definition of a curates egg! Can barely hit the pitch, then bowls like a dream at Perth. I know he has a dreadful action which will always mean he'll spray it around but any danger of some consistency and some a@#e hole! A mentally weak Australian, who would have thought that was possible with your breeding? Tom, England!

  • Jarr30 on July 12, 2011, 15:03 GMT

    Indian players should take some lessons from Johnson. All top Indian stars gave more importance to IPL and decided to take rest during West Indian tour. All big stars like Sehwag, Tendulkar, Gambhir,Sreeshant & Zaheer Khan skipped WI tour, if all these players would have played, we could have beaten WI 3-0 rather than 1-0. My respect to Michtell Johson from India.

  • on July 12, 2011, 14:58 GMT

    Absolute champion. He didn't play in IPL also, it shows his ambition to perform better for his country

  • liaqathussain on July 12, 2011, 13:41 GMT

    respect to johnson,,,,,,,,

    ipl is more money oriented big bash has better quality of cricket,,,,

    i think with in 2 year big bash will take over from ipl,,,, simply becasue they dont discriminate between players, big bash can take one more big step and start signing players from smaller cricketing nations ie zim,, kenya,, holland, etc

  • bigwonder on July 12, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    Stuart Broad made similar decision, just look at him noiw

  • nadu_1975 on July 12, 2011, 13:00 GMT

    right decs maan. T20 is not your stuff . Just leave it for others to make their living.

  • fazald on July 12, 2011, 12:58 GMT

    This is a very wise move by Mitchell Johnson who seem to realize the importance of the test series against India which begins soon after the T20 "Big Bash League". No doubt this is a slap in the face to the administrators of Cricket Australia who seem to think that this so called "Big Bash League" is more important than the test series against India. This clearly indicates where CA's prorities are when we are desperately trying to rebuild our side after a dismal two years in world cricket.At this moment our main focus should be about improving our dwindling standards & image in world cricket & not being involved in this rubbish called "Big Bash League". CA doesn't seem to be concerned about injury or the welfare of the players either as long as they can make a fast buck.No doubt CA is trying to compete with IPL & is sure to learn a bitter lesson from this experience after spending so much money. Johnson should be lauded for not being too greedy & hope other aussi cricketers will follow

  • Vivek.Bhandari on July 12, 2011, 12:37 GMT

    Mitch, I really feel jealous as an Indian fan. You've certainly done something that nobody would do. Hats off to you, Sir. I just hope that Indians such as Sachin and others also bid good-bye to these circus cricket.

  • rama563 on July 12, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    Well done johnson!!!! perform well in every series you play!!! but dont dare to make a good performance on india!!!!!!!!!!!! you will lost ur place in aussie side!!!!!!

  • tdobbo on July 12, 2011, 11:57 GMT

    I would suggest Timid Mitch is hopeless at T20 anyway, time for him to stand aside in all forms and give someone else with at least some desire a chance.

  • jonesy2 on July 12, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    what a champion. take note others

  • Sakthiivel on July 12, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    You will join this League one day. Then you feel that you missed few of them before. But this decision is gutsy. You alone had taken without consulting the family. Best of luck.

  • ali00 on July 12, 2011, 10:49 GMT

    that is very well done decision by Mitchell Johnson you deserve to be on the Australian side

  • hypocrite on July 12, 2011, 10:13 GMT

    Whoa...good to hear this!!Wanna see many more players prefer tests to t20s....

  • ranga_s on July 12, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    Well done Mr. Johnson......

  • alexbraae on July 12, 2011, 9:03 GMT

    Good on you Mitch, and this is coming from a Kiwi. Hope your bold decision pays off and you torment our boys.

  • Munkeymomo on July 12, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    My respect for Mitchell Johnson has just gone up a lot. When he's on fire he is one of the best around, he just needs consistency, and world cricket needs more top bowlers (especially quick bowlers and there's no doubt Mitch is quick). This is great news for test cricket, and the more people follow the example set by Mitchell Johnson, Daniel Vettori and Andrew Strauss the better. Test cricket needs top players like these and I hope Mitch can stay around for years to come.

  • CFDanalysis on July 12, 2011, 8:40 GMT

    Definely MJ your wife and kidds gonna fight with you, what you have done for us. money matters?

  • m_kamb on July 12, 2011, 8:29 GMT

    MY INDIAN BROTHER WILL PREFER IPL BECAUSE OF CASH ,AND WILL SAY TO PEOPLE I PLAY FOR COUNTRY.LOL

    BY THE WAY WHY INDIANS ARENT DOPE TESTED?

  • Winsome on July 12, 2011, 8:23 GMT

    Pankaj, I'd take a look at his T20 record before writing such stuff. Johnson played a match for his club in WA last season and apparently he spent ages talking to kids and fans which must have been a big boost for the club on that day. It's impressive that he wants to do that more, if only more of the Aus cricketers wanted to.

  • Mcgrath-Dravid-Flintoff on July 12, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    This is the only reason i like Mitch,he stays away from all T-20 leagues to play for his country! Bravo Mitch!

  • on July 12, 2011, 8:17 GMT

    WELL DONE MJ. PREFERING COUNTRY OVER COUNTY. TEST CRICKET OVER T20. I WISH OUR INDIAN CRICKETERS CAN LEARN A LESSON HERE. TIME TO BEAT IT!

  • LazyPlayer on July 12, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    I don't think Johnson can stand on some sort of moral high ground on the basis of this decision. Who would want to be a bowler in T20 cricket?

  • Agnihothra on July 12, 2011, 8:03 GMT

    Good on you mate!!! Turning down IPL is one thing.... Not wanting to do anything with the t-20 tournament in your back yard needs some.... well... balls....

  • Gizza on July 12, 2011, 8:01 GMT

    I think there was a Cricinfo article on this or at least a comment by a famous ex-cricketer saying that curiously, the Australian players who have rejected playing Twenty20 (whether internationally, IPL or BBL) are still performing quite badly (as in form). Think of Ponting, Clarke and Johnson. I don't find T20 as true a game of cricket as Tests or even 50 over matches, but I think some of the bashing of the form of game is little uncalled for. Well not bashing but more like blaming everything on it. There seem to be plenty of Aussie fans thinking that if T20 didn't exist at all, their team would be in a much more healthy state. I can't agree with that. If anything, T20 should be harming India (with the IPL and all) and England (have had domestic T20 for the longest time) more than Australia. If T20 is used as the excuse for the team's failures, I'm afraid the rebuilding phase will be a lot longer than hoped for since that isn't the crux of the matter.

  • anver777 on July 12, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    Mr.Johnson i doubt you play BBL or not anyway its gonna be a tough tour in SL conditions ....... so keep working !!!!!!

  • kunal3268 on July 12, 2011, 7:56 GMT

    good atleast somebody cares about the tour coming up ... gud he is focussing in the right direction..and i hope more player set there priorites right.bcuz t20 isnt exactly cricket

  • on July 12, 2011, 7:56 GMT

    As an Englishman this may seem like an odd thing to admit but I am proud of Mitch. He is an asset to the Australian squad because he makes things happen that other bowlers could never dream on when he is in form. T20 is a waste, especially now that Australia are in a re-building phase. They have some important series to come and they need Mitchell Johnson in prime form if they want to get back up in the rankings. Good on ya Mitch!

  • Meety on July 12, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    Good decision by MJ. A bit of an "up your's" to the CA. The poor buggar has bowled more overs then anybody in International cricket over the last 3 yrs! He deserves to be a bit choosey!

  • on July 12, 2011, 7:49 GMT

    Very good decision by Johnson, its high time for him to prove his worth in international cricket because so far in his career he is either unplayable or very ordinary, If CA is still for-see him as a leader of their bowling attack than we have to wait till the end of their summer in 2012.

  • Pankaj_INDIA on July 12, 2011, 7:41 GMT

    so he realised he has no worth in t20, thats good coz his often wayward deliveries will be punished in t20. better focus on tests, coz australia will need to play out of skin to retain no.5 slot in tests, what with windies and NZ giving them competition now. :)

  • on July 12, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    It's HELL MUCH easier said than done, so kudos to you on that steely decision mate. You have just earned a fan all the way across from India. Good luck for the tough summer man. Looking forward to see you fit, oriented and focused on *real* cricket.

  • darkmon.SL on July 12, 2011, 7:23 GMT

    Finally someone taking more interest in international cricket than T20 leagues...Kudos !

  • Baundele on July 12, 2011, 7:15 GMT

    I just noticed that Johnson does not play in IPL either. In these days of cricket polluted by short-term money, it is a great decision.

  • gzawilliam on July 12, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    Just work on your front arm Mitchell and forget the deadlifts and bench presses. Your strength is fine. Its your damn skills that need more work. Just get back to bowling.

  • on July 12, 2011, 7:08 GMT

    Wow! My opinion of Mitcho! just skyrocketed. First of our current cricketers (yes T20 is not cricket, it's just for numpties) as far as I'm aware to do the right thing and concentrate on the summer of cricket rather than this junk. Wish the rest of his team mates did/do the same thing.

  • bobagorof on July 12, 2011, 6:57 GMT

    Brave decision. Good to see him trying to focus on the longer format, and also give something back to the grass-roots of Australian cricket. I was one who called for him to be dropped over the last year, so I hope his commitment will see him rewarded by greater consistency and some success in the coming summer, particularly against India.

  • on July 12, 2011, 6:42 GMT

    Can't believe Cricket Australia thought it could once again schedule Tests and T20s at the same time and expect players to fit in both.

    Imagine if India had the IPL on while there were Tests. It's ridiculous to think so, but that's what Cricket Australia considers logical.

  • MenFromMarts on July 12, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    Well done Mitch. I hadn't been a fan up until now. It takes a lot of foresight to reach a decision like that and a fast bowler is tenuous at best in relation to injury and longevity. MJ is one of the fittest cricketers in the world and he knows full well that he can match it at test level when he turns 35 years of age. He is preserving his body and now his mind on the bigger task at hand. Kudos to him and those that may have helped him reach such a decision. I will be very disappointed if CA cast negative comments about this decision. BBL or reclaim the Ashes - which do you want CA?

  • smudgeon on July 12, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    Johnson is such a frustrating player to watch. When he gets it right, he's unplayable in all the right ways - when he gets it wrong, he's unplayable in all the wrong ways. Glad to hear he's concentrating on long-form cricket...

  • skkh on July 12, 2011, 6:21 GMT

    Sound decision. Twenty20 is the crap format of cricket.

  • on July 12, 2011, 6:21 GMT

    Great decision! I hope common sense prevails in all International cricketers.

  • Woody111 on July 12, 2011, 6:10 GMT

    Good on you Mitch - don't worry about that money-making rubbish

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  • Woody111 on July 12, 2011, 6:10 GMT

    Good on you Mitch - don't worry about that money-making rubbish

  • on July 12, 2011, 6:21 GMT

    Great decision! I hope common sense prevails in all International cricketers.

  • skkh on July 12, 2011, 6:21 GMT

    Sound decision. Twenty20 is the crap format of cricket.

  • smudgeon on July 12, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    Johnson is such a frustrating player to watch. When he gets it right, he's unplayable in all the right ways - when he gets it wrong, he's unplayable in all the wrong ways. Glad to hear he's concentrating on long-form cricket...

  • MenFromMarts on July 12, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    Well done Mitch. I hadn't been a fan up until now. It takes a lot of foresight to reach a decision like that and a fast bowler is tenuous at best in relation to injury and longevity. MJ is one of the fittest cricketers in the world and he knows full well that he can match it at test level when he turns 35 years of age. He is preserving his body and now his mind on the bigger task at hand. Kudos to him and those that may have helped him reach such a decision. I will be very disappointed if CA cast negative comments about this decision. BBL or reclaim the Ashes - which do you want CA?

  • on July 12, 2011, 6:42 GMT

    Can't believe Cricket Australia thought it could once again schedule Tests and T20s at the same time and expect players to fit in both.

    Imagine if India had the IPL on while there were Tests. It's ridiculous to think so, but that's what Cricket Australia considers logical.

  • bobagorof on July 12, 2011, 6:57 GMT

    Brave decision. Good to see him trying to focus on the longer format, and also give something back to the grass-roots of Australian cricket. I was one who called for him to be dropped over the last year, so I hope his commitment will see him rewarded by greater consistency and some success in the coming summer, particularly against India.

  • on July 12, 2011, 7:08 GMT

    Wow! My opinion of Mitcho! just skyrocketed. First of our current cricketers (yes T20 is not cricket, it's just for numpties) as far as I'm aware to do the right thing and concentrate on the summer of cricket rather than this junk. Wish the rest of his team mates did/do the same thing.

  • gzawilliam on July 12, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    Just work on your front arm Mitchell and forget the deadlifts and bench presses. Your strength is fine. Its your damn skills that need more work. Just get back to bowling.

  • Baundele on July 12, 2011, 7:15 GMT

    I just noticed that Johnson does not play in IPL either. In these days of cricket polluted by short-term money, it is a great decision.