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Durham snap up Mitchell Johnson

George Dobell

April 2, 2012

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Mitchell Johnson bends his back, South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Johannesburg, 3rd day, November 19, 2011
Mitchell Johnson will be eager to prove a point with Durham ahead of the World T20 © Getty Images
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Durham have signed Mitchell Johnson, the Australia fast bowler, as their second overseas player for the 2012 Friends Life t20 competition.

Johnson's international T20 record is not the best - he concedes his runs at over seven an over and averages only 10.09 with the bat. But he has played all but three games of his T20 career at international level and will be eager to prove a point with Durham ahead of the World T20 in September. Herschelle Gibbs, the South Africa batsman, is Durham's other overseas player for T20.

Johnson, 30, was named ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2009 and has appeared in 47 Tests, 107 ODIs and 28 T20 internationals. A combination of injury issues and lost form have seen him lose favour in the Australian set-up, however, and he has fallen some way down the pecking order as a new generation of Australian fast bowlers has emerged.

But it is less than 18-months since he bowled out England to help Australia win the Perth Test while, as a batsman, he has proved good enough to score a Test century and two ODI half-centuries.

"I've heard brilliant things about Durham from Paul Collingwood when he played over in Perth and I'm really excited about joining up with the squad," Johnson said. "Delivering match-winning contributions is important to me and that's not just with a focus on my bowling: all-round performances in T20 are really important and I want to leave at the end of July having secured our place at finals day."

Durham's chief executive, David Harker, added, "Mitchell is an excellent addition to our squad and he will certainly be a force to be reckoned with. One of our ambitions for 2012 is to get to t20 finals day and we have made the investment to bring in players that we feel will enhance our already talented squad to help us achieve that. It'll be great for us to welcome Mitchell to the set up."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Fifthman on (April 4, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

This season will be the final nail in the coffin of Mitchell 'Spraygun' Johnson. The only carving he'll be doing is on a joint of tough old 'roo...

Posted by Partyman on (April 3, 2012, 7:51 GMT)

As a Glamorgan supporter, relieved he has not signed for us! For once I am sad that, Glamorgan is not part of the Northern landscape... Imagine all the rich pickings off this bloke. Not one for predictions, but I can safely predict Durham ain't going to be T20 champions this year.

Posted by jonesy2 on (April 3, 2012, 6:30 GMT)

will absolutely carve up the competition.

Posted by zenboomerang on (April 3, 2012, 5:37 GMT)

While everyone has forgotten Johnson this summer, I have been talking up his usefullness to the Oz team in ODI's & T20's - Tri-nations & WI tour... Along with Bollinger they have been a great duo... When we look at the performances of Hilfy, Rhino, Pattinson in the short games we can see their lack of penetration that Johnson often gets through his own "natural" waywardness, making him an unpredictable bowler to face... For all his faults, he is still a good bowler & his last batting in SA resulted in a 38n.o. & 40n.o. - ensuring that Oz won that Test & drew the series... PS: the Perth Ashes Test is always brought up as Johnsons bright light but Rhino also got 9 wkts in that Test...

Posted by bobagorof on (April 3, 2012, 5:35 GMT)

I've already said a lot about Johnson while he was in the Australian team, so I won't beat a dead horse. But I will wish him well. He has shown in the past that he can be a destructive bowler, and credit to him if he can return to the days when he had more consistency and was able to swing the ball.

Posted by Buggsy on (April 3, 2012, 3:15 GMT)

Ugh, I thought we'd heard the last of Johnson. Good to see he's someone else's problem though.

Posted by dsig3 on (April 3, 2012, 2:52 GMT)

Hope he does well. He is a terribly nice person who cops flak because he is wildly inconsistent. Make no mistake, when the stars align and its flowing for MJ he will win games all by himself. He has done this a number of times for us, its the other games that make it so hard for him to keep a test spot. Similar to Harmison I think, at his best the opposition simply dont stand a chance.

Posted by Meety on (April 3, 2012, 0:33 GMT)

@katandthat3 - I definately hope he is in the squad for the T20 W/Cup. I don't like agreeing with jonesy2 too often, but I actually think he'd be a useful pinchhitting opening batsmen in T20s.

Posted by Chris_P on (April 2, 2012, 23:10 GMT)

Have to disagree, Wombats. A brilliant player on his day, just that his days are way too spaced apart AND getting further apart every season! He won't be back in the baggy green, not now nor in the near future. He has way too many consistently better bowlers ahead of him. Not only isn't he needed, but he just doesn't fit in anywhere with current depth of quicks around. Good luck to him on his stint with Durham though.

Posted by katandthat3 on (April 2, 2012, 20:53 GMT)

Not a bad idea for Mitch to get more exposure to UK conditions especially with a 2013 Ashes coming up, however he is well down the pecking order for that tour and an outside chance. I would love to see him back in the ODI Aussie side as well pointed out by @Meety his record is excellent and we could do with him, the World Cup is a more realistic chance for MJ. Hoping they televise the UK T20 over in Australia again.

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