Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne, 4th day December 29, 2013

Johnson defends sightscreen rant

ESPNcricinfo staff
44

Mitchell Johnson, a shoo-in for the Ashes man of the series, has defended the confrontational style that resulted in a prolonged outburst against Kevin Pietersen during the fourth Test at the MCG.

Johnson picked up his third man-of-the-match award in Australia's eight-wicket victory Sunday and, with one Test remaining, is already the first Australian bowler to take 30 wickets or more in a home Ashes series since Craig McDermott, the bowling coach who has supervised his revival, in 1994/95.

Johnson, who has 31 wickets in the series at 14.32, railed at Pietersen during Saturday's third day as more than once he pulled away from the crease with Johnson about to bowl because of movement in front of the sightscreen.

Johnson later found out that a child had been crawling across the sightscreen, but he was in no mood to apologise.

"I don't think I took it too far," he said as Australia moved within one match of a whitewash. "I was getting annoyed at what he was doing. He kept pulling away. I did find out later that there was a little kid crawling across the sightscreen, but if you look at the size of the sightscreen, they're pretty big here.

"If you're not watching the game and you're too busy watching the crowd, then I think it was warranted. I enjoy those little confrontations and there was no contact this time, which was good. We're both passionate people and we want to win."

Johnson said while he felt some England players were not scared of his hostile bowling there were others who were uneasy.

"I don't know if it's a scared thing, but maybe a bit uneasy at times on certain wickets throughout this series, definitely," he said. "Being a tailender myself, you never like going in there and facing short balls straight up. It can be intimidating."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 31, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    @scottstevo " It's almost like when they can't beat us on the field, let's try and do something about it off the field." haaaha When we won 3-0 (this year) it was YOU guys who whinged & whinged because you couldnt win, blaming the DRS. Now as a result we stupidly have 2 extra reviews for each team after 80 overs! I thought it was only meant for howlers.

  • pat_one_back on December 30, 2013, 22:17 GMT

    @jmcmcilhenney, a bit disingenuous to say Mitch went off assuming KP backed away for no reason, his gripe as stated in his interview is why is KP preoccupied crowd watching once the bowler has left his mark, it's gotten beyond a joke. These extended site screen areas cover a huge and mostly superfluous line of site IF watching the ball. The lack of any match referee comment means no case to answer and possibly implies some sympathy for what is an increasing problem with a few Eng batsmen that when viewed overall is increasingly apparent as blatantly unsporting behaviour. If it continues there will be 'running on the pitch' type warnings implemented as with many Eng tactics it's just poor for the game.

  • ScottStevo on December 30, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    Who cares what others think of Johnson! I love that the English try and jump on some perceived moral high ground whenever we're clobbering them. It's like their one and only glimmer of self respect! It's funny how that in 05 it was great for Eng to 'get up them,' yet it's ungentlemanly conduct when it's done to them. Same goes for India too. It's almost like when they can't beat us on the field, let's try and do something about it off the field. When our players are throwing sweets onto the pitch, or mocking players injuries, then I might start thinking that we're crossing the line. I'm glad Johnson told Pietersen where to go - somebody needed to anyway.

  • neil99 on December 30, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    Just another example of Australian sportsmanship

  • jmcilhinney on December 30, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    @elvis57 on (December 29, 2013, 23:43 GMT), Johnson assumed that Pietersen had no justification for pulling away on that last occasion and he was wrong. What evidence do you have that he didn't have any justification on the other occasions? You have just as much evidence as Johnson had: none. You're just making an assumption that supports your bias. Even if KP was playing it up on the other occasions, there was justification on that particular occasion and Johnson isn't even prepared to admit that. If he had said that his reaction was wrong because KP was justified on that particular occasion then you might take him seriously but he's just going the deny, deny, deny route. What he did was wrong, plain and simple. His reaction can't be justified by any explanation. Even if KP was in the wrong, which there's no actual evidence to support, it's not for Johnson to take it into his own hands the way he did.

  • Shaggy076 on December 30, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    pcraju; Heard of the bou that cried wolf, Pieterson had done it numerous times. the data shows that in a full day in the field MJ covers around 24km. With I think it was 300 odd sprints, Pietersen had done it twice to him before and deserved a spray, it turns out this time there may be a legitimate reason but he needed to be told because of his past indiscretions. It takes a lot of effort to bowl at 150 k/hr so when a batsman continulally pulls away I think they should get a lot more than a verbal spray.

  • dunger.bob on December 30, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    @ Dark_Harlequin : Yes that's true, but I heard he wants to break free before another one bites the dust. Admittedly, he's been better since somebody found him someone to love. :)

  • Harlequin. on December 30, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Don't worry Freddie, i mean Mitch - you've finally broken free and been the killer queen throughout the series, put the english under pressure and now you are the champion. There's no stopping you now lad!

  • pcraju on December 30, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    Johnson is rude. He should have atleast accepted the mistake in the press conference if not directly to Pieterson. Since he came to know that a child was crossing why cant he accept that it was not right for him to throw the ball in frustration. He crosses the line to be a professional cricketer. KP did the samething to Siddle, did Siddle do the samething that MJ did? MJ has become arrongant now since he has started taking few wickets these days. When he doesn't get wicket, he tries to frustrate the batsmen with his sledging. He doesn't deserve the MOM in this match. It should have been Lyon or even Rogers.

  • Shaggy076 on December 30, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    sasnoz; Yes he crossed the line against Styris, with Benn he just gently pushed away a man who was very aggressive in his face. In my opinion he has crossed the line once but certainly not in this test series.

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 31, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    @scottstevo " It's almost like when they can't beat us on the field, let's try and do something about it off the field." haaaha When we won 3-0 (this year) it was YOU guys who whinged & whinged because you couldnt win, blaming the DRS. Now as a result we stupidly have 2 extra reviews for each team after 80 overs! I thought it was only meant for howlers.

  • pat_one_back on December 30, 2013, 22:17 GMT

    @jmcmcilhenney, a bit disingenuous to say Mitch went off assuming KP backed away for no reason, his gripe as stated in his interview is why is KP preoccupied crowd watching once the bowler has left his mark, it's gotten beyond a joke. These extended site screen areas cover a huge and mostly superfluous line of site IF watching the ball. The lack of any match referee comment means no case to answer and possibly implies some sympathy for what is an increasing problem with a few Eng batsmen that when viewed overall is increasingly apparent as blatantly unsporting behaviour. If it continues there will be 'running on the pitch' type warnings implemented as with many Eng tactics it's just poor for the game.

  • ScottStevo on December 30, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    Who cares what others think of Johnson! I love that the English try and jump on some perceived moral high ground whenever we're clobbering them. It's like their one and only glimmer of self respect! It's funny how that in 05 it was great for Eng to 'get up them,' yet it's ungentlemanly conduct when it's done to them. Same goes for India too. It's almost like when they can't beat us on the field, let's try and do something about it off the field. When our players are throwing sweets onto the pitch, or mocking players injuries, then I might start thinking that we're crossing the line. I'm glad Johnson told Pietersen where to go - somebody needed to anyway.

  • neil99 on December 30, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    Just another example of Australian sportsmanship

  • jmcilhinney on December 30, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    @elvis57 on (December 29, 2013, 23:43 GMT), Johnson assumed that Pietersen had no justification for pulling away on that last occasion and he was wrong. What evidence do you have that he didn't have any justification on the other occasions? You have just as much evidence as Johnson had: none. You're just making an assumption that supports your bias. Even if KP was playing it up on the other occasions, there was justification on that particular occasion and Johnson isn't even prepared to admit that. If he had said that his reaction was wrong because KP was justified on that particular occasion then you might take him seriously but he's just going the deny, deny, deny route. What he did was wrong, plain and simple. His reaction can't be justified by any explanation. Even if KP was in the wrong, which there's no actual evidence to support, it's not for Johnson to take it into his own hands the way he did.

  • Shaggy076 on December 30, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    pcraju; Heard of the bou that cried wolf, Pieterson had done it numerous times. the data shows that in a full day in the field MJ covers around 24km. With I think it was 300 odd sprints, Pietersen had done it twice to him before and deserved a spray, it turns out this time there may be a legitimate reason but he needed to be told because of his past indiscretions. It takes a lot of effort to bowl at 150 k/hr so when a batsman continulally pulls away I think they should get a lot more than a verbal spray.

  • dunger.bob on December 30, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    @ Dark_Harlequin : Yes that's true, but I heard he wants to break free before another one bites the dust. Admittedly, he's been better since somebody found him someone to love. :)

  • Harlequin. on December 30, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Don't worry Freddie, i mean Mitch - you've finally broken free and been the killer queen throughout the series, put the english under pressure and now you are the champion. There's no stopping you now lad!

  • pcraju on December 30, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    Johnson is rude. He should have atleast accepted the mistake in the press conference if not directly to Pieterson. Since he came to know that a child was crossing why cant he accept that it was not right for him to throw the ball in frustration. He crosses the line to be a professional cricketer. KP did the samething to Siddle, did Siddle do the samething that MJ did? MJ has become arrongant now since he has started taking few wickets these days. When he doesn't get wicket, he tries to frustrate the batsmen with his sledging. He doesn't deserve the MOM in this match. It should have been Lyon or even Rogers.

  • Shaggy076 on December 30, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    sasnoz; Yes he crossed the line against Styris, with Benn he just gently pushed away a man who was very aggressive in his face. In my opinion he has crossed the line once but certainly not in this test series.

  • sasnoz on December 30, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    Johnson has a record of crossing the line, his head butt on scott styris deserved a lengthy suspension also his push on sulimenn benn was over the top

  • kensohatter on December 30, 2013, 7:00 GMT

    Pieterson gives as good as he gets. People need to remember that when Johnson was out of form he was sledged mercilessly by the poms and the barmy army. He has worked hard and bounced back why shouldnt he now be allowed to return fire to Peterson, Anderson, Swann and Co?!? He didnt have a cry and its embarrasing that the poms, their coaches and in some cases their grandmothers are now calling it unfair. Also if MJ does not get man of the series for his efforts it will be an absolute miracle... 31 wickets with a test to go is crazy numbers

  • Shaggy076 on December 30, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    It seems no matter what Mitch does he can't win, when he is pleasant, the barmy army and many Australian fans label him as soft, not up to test level. He has received more ridicule than anyone with his career record. So he grows up. toughens up, gets his fuel from his tormenters and turns it around to torment the English batsman and suddenly the same people that have ridiculed him for being soft now say he is boorish and arrogant. He has never overstepped the boundaries with regards to fair play, he now displays confidence and it is so exciting to watch a fast bowler torment batsman. It appears no matter what you do with regards to behaviour, those jealous of you will critisize you so go out there snarl torment. I know I love it, your more successful doing it and Im sure you love it to. Unfortunately confidence is perceived as arrogance, and you only have to listen to your interviews to see how humble you are.

  • on December 30, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    "Shoo in" are you serious?

  • on December 30, 2013, 4:31 GMT

    @jonesy Are you sure? You must be a little careful when you use the word Legend :D

  • dunger.bob on December 30, 2013, 4:07 GMT

    From what I've heard Mitch is actually a nice, quiet bloke off the pitch and not at all prone to fits of anger. Like most fast bowlers he gets a bit upset from time to time but as a general rule he's an amiable customer.

    So why would he get so upset with KP for pulling away at the last moment? .. It's pretty simple really. The Pom's, as a unit, have been doing stuff like that all bloody summer. It looks like a tactic, and if that's the case then they deserve every bit of the spray he gave them. .. It's unfair to the bowler and bordering on dirty play in my opinion. .. I could be way off the mark, I usually am, but it's happened so often, by so many of the English batsmen that it does for all the world look like a deliberate ploy to frustrate, unfairly tire and generally get under the bowlers skin.

    I'd like to think that England are well and truly above that sort of dirty pool, but it's not that easy to come to any other conclusion.

  • on December 30, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    The new intimidating persona, handle-bar mustache and all seems to be working for M. Johnson

    For his sake, he has to keep up his production i.e. taking wickets otherwise - that persona without wickets is somewhat tiresome....

  • Insult_2_Injury on December 30, 2013, 3:04 GMT

    There's no need to apologise Mitch. We all know what the Poms are doing. They are deliberately trying to slow the game down and to get the bowlers angry to throw off their rhythm. Throughout this series Pietersen, Prior, Trott have all backed away or put their hand up to stop the bowler as he turns into his run up, or actually in it. It's the same as their mid pitch ever other ball. It's a deliberate ploy, the same as going off to refresh after every bowling stint at home last series. Johnson only policed what the umpires have been too lax to do. The batsman is supposed to be ready when the bowler is. The farcical nature of batsman protection has reached a ludicrous limit with a batsman getting a no ball for brushing the stumps in delivery. As Johnson said, if all these things are 'distracting' a batsman then he should be called out, because I guarantee they'll spruik about 'the zone' when they make a run. The Match referee needs to earn his quid and stop the time wasting now.

  • AidanFX on December 30, 2013, 2:14 GMT

    The moment was awesome - KP has backed out at the last moment that many times this series, it is not surprising MJ was frustrated. There was nothing overly hostile about it. It looked good on TV and livened the game up suddenly. England as a team have been using 'slow the game down' techniques with both bat and ball. It has backfired on them badly too.

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 30, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    At least he's honest enough to classify himself a tailender. If one century in over 50+ tests is a all-rounder then i guess Jason Gillespie was a all-rounder too.

  • LooksPlumbFromHere on December 30, 2013, 1:41 GMT

    KP pulled away from Siddle several times, and then from Johnson. Rather than throw the ball in frustration, Johnson could have bowled the ball, hit the stumps and made the umpire decide if KP is being too precious. Maybe KP needs a bigger sightscreen, or an empty stadium. Just play the ball!

  • CustomKid on December 30, 2013, 1:09 GMT

    Good on MJ and he's 100% right. If KP's mind was on the job and watching the bowlers hand there would be no issue. The side screens are bigger now than they've ever been and he's been pulling this stunt all series to all bowlers. Call it time wasting, call it ego, call it KP just being the pretentious knob he is in action.

    Either way I'm pretty sure if he tries it again while Mitch is bowling he'll be in for a surprise. I'm expecting a massive overstepped no ball, with a bouncer in to his ribs that follows him, and hopefully drops him while his guard is down.

    If I was boof I'd have a quiet word with all the quicks and say if he does that again just prior to you reaching the umpire, go through with the delivery and try and break a rib or two with a bouncer that follows him to leg stump. Not in the spirit of cricket? Probably not, but neither is KP's ongoing hideous tactic with the use of MEGA side screens.

  • iwatcheditwhenwewasrubbish on December 30, 2013, 0:44 GMT

    Why not simply ask Pietersen what his problem is then take a look yourself instead of being such a in yer face yob.

    One England batsmen puts up a little bit of resistance and the Aussies throw a fit, appealing en masse when his bails are clearly blown off by the wind (cheats) and getting in his face when he makes a legitimate point about spectators messing about in front of the sight screen.

    Welcome to Australia.

    Compare this to when a rampant Flintoff consoled Brett Lee in his defeat, what a sad time cricket is going through.

  • VivGilchrist on December 30, 2013, 0:13 GMT

    I have not seen as much pulling out from batsmen as I have from England this series. Sure it was windy the other day and debris blowing everywhere but I think it's a case of "boy who cried wolf". It's been an obvious tactic from them this series to frustrate the bowlers. If this English team put as much energy on attacking cricket and mental strength as the do on time wasting and gamesmanship it may have been a closer fought series.

  • elvis57 on December 29, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    Pietersen's constant withdrawal at the last moment deserved a blast from Mitch. In this case there was a kid crawling over the area, but it was at least the fourth time Pietersen did it. What a pain!

  • on December 29, 2013, 23:34 GMT

    I imagine they're mates off the pitch. Great players respect each other all and they were doing was trying to break each other's concentration. Just part of the game.

  • Cricket_theBestGame on December 29, 2013, 23:26 GMT

    johnson is having a good run at the moment.but he forgets that being arrogant in a game which can come back and kick up the back side so hard and high....

  • BnH1985Fan on December 29, 2013, 23:10 GMT

    Too much arrogance -- best to not burn the bridges -- maintain humility while performing so well and you'll go down as an all time great

  • on December 29, 2013, 22:48 GMT

    I wonder how Johnson's line and length will go when the Saffers start slapping him to the boundary?

  • Tiberius on December 29, 2013, 22:48 GMT

    Posted by yorkshirematt on (December 29, 2013, 12:39 GMT)

    Anyone else see a bit of Freddie Mercury in Mitch's looks these days?

    Yes! I'm so pleased Magic Mitch has decided to emulate his hero! I fully support Magic Mitch. About time Australia had a gay fast-fast bowler! Go Mitch! Yay!

  • on December 29, 2013, 22:03 GMT

    If there is anyone who should feel hard done by at MJ being man of the series, it's Brad Haddin. Who else has pulled Oz out of the drain as many times with the bat?

  • FlashAsh on December 29, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    I think i'm begining to understand who Swann was talking about when he said about people who wear international colours!! For MJ to think his outburst at KP is somehow acceptable behaviour is a laugh, he was almost physically contacting KP!!

    But Yorkshirematt is correct about his Freddie look!! Maybe thats why he's being more butch on the pitch?

  • on December 29, 2013, 21:41 GMT

    I word for him TWAT.And Saffi u are so right. One series and now he is the king of australian cricket. i just wish someoe would pound the hell out of him in the next series, then we will see . l

  • Chris_P on December 29, 2013, 21:36 GMT

    @Saffi Riaz Kidwai. You do't delve in the past, the only thing you worry about is the present & next test. His spot is safe for now but he has several contenders for his spot should he falter so he can't afford to reflect.

  • pat_one_back on December 29, 2013, 20:40 GMT

    Didn't see the altercation live but hardly surprised by news of it, Pietersen pulls away so often it's just gotten ridiculous. An occurrence that might normally happen once in a day's cricket happens every few overs or so with KP, something was bound to kick off eventually. I thought Harris may have been the one to pop actually, the poor guy looks like he's breaking personal pain barriers every ball he bowls, a wasted run up is basically one less test delivery he has left in him. Certainly not below Eng to use this as a ploy to niggle opposition bowlers, didn't work so well for Bairstow this time though!

  • Beertjie on December 29, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    Needs 10fer to equal Hogg's Ashes record for a quickie of 41 (after the first 5 matches his total was 40 - only took 1 in the 6th test) in Australia.

  • jonesy2 on December 29, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    Mitchell Johnson = legend. and youre not a tail ender mitch, youre an allrounder, a superstar one at that.

  • on December 29, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    @barney jones: read it again, they are are talking about Australian pacer at home ashes series. In 2005 Shane Warne took 40 wickets, but neither he is a pacer nor he took those wickets in home ashes series.

  • 9-Monkeys on December 29, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    Barney, 2005 was in England. The article refers to wickets in a home (Australian) series.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on December 29, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    @saffi I'm pretty sure if he's forgotten them and moved on it's more a sign of mental strength than anything else. If he was constantly thinking about it he'd have failed miserably and been dropped again.

  • on December 29, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    how easily success can get someone moving ahead of himself..Mitch Johnson seems to ve totally forgotten days wen he was beaten up for more than 5 runs per over n struggled for spot in team..

  • on December 29, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    Not sure about the stat. How many wickets did Warne take in 2005?

  • yorkshirematt on December 29, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    Anyone else see a bit of Freddie Mercury in Mitch's looks these days?

  • on December 29, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    How modest of Johnson to call himself a tailender. Legendary stuff.

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  • on December 29, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    How modest of Johnson to call himself a tailender. Legendary stuff.

  • yorkshirematt on December 29, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    Anyone else see a bit of Freddie Mercury in Mitch's looks these days?

  • on December 29, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    Not sure about the stat. How many wickets did Warne take in 2005?

  • on December 29, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    how easily success can get someone moving ahead of himself..Mitch Johnson seems to ve totally forgotten days wen he was beaten up for more than 5 runs per over n struggled for spot in team..

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on December 29, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    @saffi I'm pretty sure if he's forgotten them and moved on it's more a sign of mental strength than anything else. If he was constantly thinking about it he'd have failed miserably and been dropped again.

  • 9-Monkeys on December 29, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    Barney, 2005 was in England. The article refers to wickets in a home (Australian) series.

  • on December 29, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    @barney jones: read it again, they are are talking about Australian pacer at home ashes series. In 2005 Shane Warne took 40 wickets, but neither he is a pacer nor he took those wickets in home ashes series.

  • jonesy2 on December 29, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    Mitchell Johnson = legend. and youre not a tail ender mitch, youre an allrounder, a superstar one at that.

  • Beertjie on December 29, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    Needs 10fer to equal Hogg's Ashes record for a quickie of 41 (after the first 5 matches his total was 40 - only took 1 in the 6th test) in Australia.

  • pat_one_back on December 29, 2013, 20:40 GMT

    Didn't see the altercation live but hardly surprised by news of it, Pietersen pulls away so often it's just gotten ridiculous. An occurrence that might normally happen once in a day's cricket happens every few overs or so with KP, something was bound to kick off eventually. I thought Harris may have been the one to pop actually, the poor guy looks like he's breaking personal pain barriers every ball he bowls, a wasted run up is basically one less test delivery he has left in him. Certainly not below Eng to use this as a ploy to niggle opposition bowlers, didn't work so well for Bairstow this time though!