October 28, 2013

What Mitch does

Johnson has picked up his pace, and his bounce and late movement have got batsmen wary too
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The bowler runs in hard, sends down a bouncer and makes the batsman hop and duck. With his feet in the air from the hop, and his head tucked into his chest from the attempt at ducking, he manages to stay away from the line of the ball. The wicketkeeper, standing close to the 30-yard circle, makes a futile attempt to get an outstretched hand to the ball, which thuds into the sightscreen after bouncing once inside the rope.

The bowler is Mitchell Johnson and the batsman Sanju Samson during a Champions League match in Jaipur.

The sight of a fast bowler making a batsman hop gets you to sit up and watch intently. And if the bowler makes some of the best batsmen in the world duck and sway on docile Indian pitches, you hold your breath in anticipation whenever that bowler runs in to bowl.

It's evident that Johnson has picked up his pace over the last year. And while the pace is visibly upsetting batsmen, the late inward movement into right-handers, and the bounce, are also playing havoc.

In the ODI series against India, Johnson has troubled the Indian batsmen with that extra bounce and pace, on pitches where totals of 300-plus have been par for the course. It's not that the Indians haven't faced this kind of pace or bounce; on the contrary, they have played it with authority and even dominated it in the past. But Johnson is a slightly different proposition.

He isn't the typical left-arm fast bowler who bowls with a high-arm action and relies mostly on exploiting the natural angle lefties create while bowling to right-handers. His bowling arm is some distance away from his left ear, and that makes it difficult for batsmen to gauge the bounce he will generate after pitching.

For bowlers with high-arm actions, the bounce off the surface is directly related to their point of release, which makes for a certain predictability. But with bowlers who have a slinging action, it's relatively difficult to assess how much bounce they'll get after pitching. Such bowlers skid the ball off the surface, unlike the ones with high-arm actions. When you bowl with a high-arm action the bounce you get is like that you get when a tennis ball bounces on a dry surface, and with a slingy action it's a bit like the bounce of a plastic ball on a wet surface.

Have you ever tried making a stone skip on water? The lower the arm while throwing, the more times the stone bounces off the surface of the water. Another key difference with regard to bounce is the trajectory of the ball after pitching - for bowlers with a high-arm action, the ball gains considerable height right after pitching, but for someone with a round-arm action, the path is more gradual, similar to an airplane taking off: it's not easy to gauge when the ball has reached the peak of its bounce. (This is why even wicketkeepers don't know how far back they should stand.)

A round-arm action puts severe pressure on the lower back and hips, which could lead to serious injuries. Mitchell Johnson's impact comes with a disclaimer: try to imitate it at your own peril

Then there's the small matter of whether the ball lands on the seam or on the shine. If it lands on the seam, it bounces considerably more than it would if it lands on the leather. When a bowler delivers with a round-arm action, even he can't be 100% sure of making the ball land on the seam, so what chance does the poor batsman have?

Johnson's natural bowling action is designed to make the ball curve in to the right-hand batsman, and when he's on top of his game (he has been there and thereabouts in this series), the ball comes in sharply. While the ball that moves laterally creates its own challenges - the batsman must not commit, must play close to the body and in the second line - in Johnson's case the ones that don't move create similar problems as well.

Given his round-arm action, which makes the ball curve in mostly, batsmen tend to play inside the line most times, so the ones that hold their line and go across cause trouble. When the ball doesn't come out right from Johnson's hand, it doesn't swing, and carries on across and away from the right-hander. Also, even when it comes out right, if Johnson has started a little too far outside off, the ball doesn't swing, and carries on across the right-hander. There's a thin line outside the right-hander's off stump that the bowler must stay within to make the ball curve in effectively. Johnson inadvertently crosses that line from time to time, keeping the batsman guessing.

Won't rookies be tempted to start out bowling with a round-arm, slingy action, given the obvious benefits of doing so? My advice in this regard is that it's important to know the flip side of such an action before taking the plunge. We only hear about the ones who have fought the odds and reached the top. It's important to know the rules to break them. Many bowlers with similar actions have ended up with severe back problems. A round-arm action puts severe pressure on the lower back and hips, which could lead to serious injuries. Also, it's not easy to be accurate regularly with such an action. Mitchell Johnson's impact comes with a disclaimer: try to imitate it at your own peril.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 2929paul on November 1, 2013, 17:35 GMT

    A slingy, round arm action does not make you susceptible to back injuries. Look at Malinga. Nobody has a more slingy action yet his back is fine. It is the biomechanics of the body movement towards the batsman that will determine the stresses put onto the back. Typically if a bowler with a "naturally" low arm tries to get it higher, he will bend his body over to the side (a right hander leans towards the off side) putting massive stresses onto the lower back, leading to injury. Check out how Steyn (successfully) changed his action to keep everything more compact and moving towards the batsman through delivery, increasing his pace by about 10kph and improving accuracy.

    Swing is achieved through seam position. Anderson is the master of using the wrist to manipulate the angle of the seam and release of the ball at the correct moment with backspin applied in order to maintain an upright seam as it travels towards the batsman.

  • JoshFromJamRock on October 28, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    Very nice article...I'm a left-arm seamer myself and I do have a slingy action as well. Everything the writer said is true from the bounce to the injury risks. But as much as i admire Johnson he needs to be more consistent and stop bowling that one odd ball that goes down the leg-side for byes or a flicked four with no fine leg. If i was a selector i would let him focus solely on limited overs particularly ODIs because this is a format I believe he can master. His stats are pretty good in the format and he'll be a top 3 wicket taker for the Aussies when he's done. For ODIs, Mckay and Johnson should be the core of the attack for the next 4-5 years. For Tests, Harris and Siddle should remain the core. Cummins and Patterson should be ODI reserves as their bodies are still maturing into their roles. Hilfenhaus and Bird should be keep for test reserves as they seem to be very consistent, pressure-building and movement-generating bowlers...spin bowling we all know is another story.

  • vik56in on October 29, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    Mitch is the fastest bowler on the planet at the moment !

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on October 29, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    I hate stats but why are people complaining about Johnson's average? It's the same as Anderson's and Broad's and you keep telling us how amazing they are. Johnson is the only one of the three that can really rough up a batsman and he has done it to far better players than the England ones coming for a visit.

  • Amit_13 on October 29, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    Some of your articles are quite fascinating Akash. Sadly, this isn't one of them. I am a left armer as well and I would have liked to know of the skill. All you've done is that you have unpicked piece by piece what his natural action is.

    No one can deny that an action comes naturally to a bowler. We just spend entire lives learning about it and increasing the efficiency of it. If an action could be learned, we would have had two bowlers with atleast similar actions, if not the same. Hence the focus on learning the skill of making it international grade. If you consider there are only a handful of people who can hurl the ball at 90mph or above out of 7 billion, they surely know something we don't.

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on October 29, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    Johnson is capable of seriously troubling any batsman in the world and has a nice collection of broken batsman and bones to boot. Mock him for sure England supporters but you wouldn't want to face him would you? Anderson takes a few wickets but no one loses any sleep over him. Johnson is pretty much the most threatening bowler going at the moment.

  • on October 29, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    Johnson has been a different bowler since shortening his run up. He hasn't sacrificed pace as a result of the change, and hasn't been out with injury. I would love to watch him run in during the Ashes; whatever happens would be interesting, if not necessarily good for Australia.

  • on October 29, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    I would love to bowl in tandem with Mitchy as we are twins when it comes to the game of cricket. I'm sure we would be able to scare other teams if we managed to get the ball in the right spot all the time

  • Bonehead_maz on October 29, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    @ Clavers on (October 28, 2013, 20:18 GMT) hehe, yeah, I know...... I was impressed, and it's well less than a year ago. Numbers wise Johnson is just a little superior to Broad over all. Somehow the latter's inconsistencies don't get pilloried as much. "Bowls short all the time with very little might ....... "etc LMAO

  • OneEyedAussie on October 29, 2013, 3:03 GMT

    @ xtrafalgarx on (October 28, 2013, 12:37 GMT) : I agree with your comments. Side-by-side it is hard to tell Johnson's record from Brett Lee's. The difficulty with being that kind of bowler is that when it doesn't come off 0-180 off 40 overs tends to look pretty awful. Lee also had the benefit of having McGrath and Gillespie at the other end for most of his career - a luxury Johnson doesn't have and almost certainly never will. It may keep him out of the test team for good.

  • 2929paul on November 1, 2013, 17:35 GMT

    A slingy, round arm action does not make you susceptible to back injuries. Look at Malinga. Nobody has a more slingy action yet his back is fine. It is the biomechanics of the body movement towards the batsman that will determine the stresses put onto the back. Typically if a bowler with a "naturally" low arm tries to get it higher, he will bend his body over to the side (a right hander leans towards the off side) putting massive stresses onto the lower back, leading to injury. Check out how Steyn (successfully) changed his action to keep everything more compact and moving towards the batsman through delivery, increasing his pace by about 10kph and improving accuracy.

    Swing is achieved through seam position. Anderson is the master of using the wrist to manipulate the angle of the seam and release of the ball at the correct moment with backspin applied in order to maintain an upright seam as it travels towards the batsman.

  • JoshFromJamRock on October 28, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    Very nice article...I'm a left-arm seamer myself and I do have a slingy action as well. Everything the writer said is true from the bounce to the injury risks. But as much as i admire Johnson he needs to be more consistent and stop bowling that one odd ball that goes down the leg-side for byes or a flicked four with no fine leg. If i was a selector i would let him focus solely on limited overs particularly ODIs because this is a format I believe he can master. His stats are pretty good in the format and he'll be a top 3 wicket taker for the Aussies when he's done. For ODIs, Mckay and Johnson should be the core of the attack for the next 4-5 years. For Tests, Harris and Siddle should remain the core. Cummins and Patterson should be ODI reserves as their bodies are still maturing into their roles. Hilfenhaus and Bird should be keep for test reserves as they seem to be very consistent, pressure-building and movement-generating bowlers...spin bowling we all know is another story.

  • vik56in on October 29, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    Mitch is the fastest bowler on the planet at the moment !

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on October 29, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    I hate stats but why are people complaining about Johnson's average? It's the same as Anderson's and Broad's and you keep telling us how amazing they are. Johnson is the only one of the three that can really rough up a batsman and he has done it to far better players than the England ones coming for a visit.

  • Amit_13 on October 29, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    Some of your articles are quite fascinating Akash. Sadly, this isn't one of them. I am a left armer as well and I would have liked to know of the skill. All you've done is that you have unpicked piece by piece what his natural action is.

    No one can deny that an action comes naturally to a bowler. We just spend entire lives learning about it and increasing the efficiency of it. If an action could be learned, we would have had two bowlers with atleast similar actions, if not the same. Hence the focus on learning the skill of making it international grade. If you consider there are only a handful of people who can hurl the ball at 90mph or above out of 7 billion, they surely know something we don't.

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on October 29, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    Johnson is capable of seriously troubling any batsman in the world and has a nice collection of broken batsman and bones to boot. Mock him for sure England supporters but you wouldn't want to face him would you? Anderson takes a few wickets but no one loses any sleep over him. Johnson is pretty much the most threatening bowler going at the moment.

  • on October 29, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    Johnson has been a different bowler since shortening his run up. He hasn't sacrificed pace as a result of the change, and hasn't been out with injury. I would love to watch him run in during the Ashes; whatever happens would be interesting, if not necessarily good for Australia.

  • on October 29, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    I would love to bowl in tandem with Mitchy as we are twins when it comes to the game of cricket. I'm sure we would be able to scare other teams if we managed to get the ball in the right spot all the time

  • Bonehead_maz on October 29, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    @ Clavers on (October 28, 2013, 20:18 GMT) hehe, yeah, I know...... I was impressed, and it's well less than a year ago. Numbers wise Johnson is just a little superior to Broad over all. Somehow the latter's inconsistencies don't get pilloried as much. "Bowls short all the time with very little might ....... "etc LMAO

  • OneEyedAussie on October 29, 2013, 3:03 GMT

    @ xtrafalgarx on (October 28, 2013, 12:37 GMT) : I agree with your comments. Side-by-side it is hard to tell Johnson's record from Brett Lee's. The difficulty with being that kind of bowler is that when it doesn't come off 0-180 off 40 overs tends to look pretty awful. Lee also had the benefit of having McGrath and Gillespie at the other end for most of his career - a luxury Johnson doesn't have and almost certainly never will. It may keep him out of the test team for good.

  • on October 29, 2013, 1:45 GMT

    If Mitch "Rocks or Diamonds" Johnson hits top form Australia will probably win the Ashes. If he hits a rotten patch then he will be playing grade cricket in Perth. Either scenario is likely.

  • Benkl on October 29, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    Problem with Mitch is his bad days... you can take him in a test but you need 2 accurate bowlers with him. Else all pressure is gone so you cant take Starc .. CUmmings/Patterson , Rhino and Mitch would work.

    No one argues that his best balls are the best in the world , but his worst is pretty bad on those days your effectively playing with a bowler less.

  • johnathonjosephs on October 29, 2013, 0:33 GMT

    I never understood the hate that Johnson garnered after that ashes series. Yes, he did have a bad time, but what bowler doesn't once in a while? In my opinion, he is the best Australian Bowler that is around at the moment, but seems to be judged for one bad series in which he was going through bad form and personal issues back at home. I hope I get to see him in action in Test cricket soon. Some people don't realize he broke Sangakkara's hand in the past Test Series they had (not an easy thing to do). Not to mention that time he broke Graeme Smith's hand in THAT test

  • rogues13 on October 28, 2013, 22:17 GMT

    @jimbond...i think it is pretty obvious that the docile pitches and world class batsmen mentioned by akash are in reference to the One day series...and not Sanju Sampson but the ODI team.... Also since u seem to have attended a lot more physics classes, can you please explain in lay man term the 'Skidding' of the ball (by lay man i mean someone who doesnt understand terms like surface tension and hydrodynamics.).

  • Shaggy076 on October 28, 2013, 22:05 GMT

    In 2008/09 he was the best bowler going around. He's had a couple of years where he has been quite average, including a period where he was out of the game for a year. He came back into the side against South Africa in Perth and played some very good games against Sri Lanka. He really hasn't put a foot wrong since returning yet receives so many negative comments. Those saying Cook, Trott etc will have a field day should ask Smith, Kallis, Sangakkara much better players than what the English have of what they think of Johnson at his best. English supporters be careful what you wish for because the new Mitch seems relaxed, no longer wayed down by pressures of leading the attack and country and ready to skittle a few Poms.

  • Clavers on October 28, 2013, 20:18 GMT

    @bonehead_maz: 9 for 171 is not average; it's an average of below 20 which is exceptional. Virtually no-one has ever managed to maintain a sub-20 bowling average over a long test career.

    And as you say, add 2 wickets for each broken hand; if the hand is broken in the first innings the batsman will will useless for both innings of that match.

    The guy already has a respectable test average of just above 30 and he is showing very strong signs that he has improved on that standard. He should be picked for Brisbane and he could well be a big factor in the entire Ashes series.

  • avinash400 on October 28, 2013, 17:17 GMT

    David Warner also injured last summer when he was faced Mitch in net practice. I am very excited to see Mitch in Ashes. As we all of see Jonathan Trott was not comfortable against Bounce.

  • Speng on October 28, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    I was impressed by his play in the Champions Trophy and I was surprised that he wasn't at least on the last Ashes squad. Right now he's probably (conservatively) in the top 5 quickest bowlers at the international level and the tweaks he's made in his approach and delivery means he's putting the ball where he wants to at that pace with movement in the air and off the seam. Yeah he went thru a few years of injury, waywardness, lack of pace whatever but he's been on form for last 12 months where he's been averaging 26.33 granted it's only been 8 innings but in that period only Faulkner, Bird, and Harris (the only one with as many innings) among Aussie bowlers have better averages. With Australia's depth of quick bowlers (assuming a fit Watto) they can afford to bowl him in short, sharp spells where he can really go for wickets. I think he could cause the Pom batsmen trouble and the only Aussie quick who was really doing that in the last Ashes was Harris.

  • on October 28, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    I can remember when he said not going to take part in IPL few years back. after that he lost his rhythm and his place in the team. last year he was picked and performed well established a place in the IPL. now he is in top form. whether IPL money is the reason for his form or just a coincidence!!

  • umairaslum on October 28, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    When he hit Kallis's chin a few years ago, it was 150 kmph I guess. He's found rythem to up his pace. That's the thing for a bowler like him or Shoaib Akhter. Such bowlers are toothless below 140 kmph.

  • umairaslum on October 28, 2013, 15:00 GMT

    The main difference is his pace. He was failing because he was at 136 to 142 km/ hr. Now he's averaging 146-148 km/hr and going beyond 153 ks occasionally which means difference to even those who can pull or hook. Here Indian flat pitch champions go on front foot premeditatedly and they look like tailenders. But a bumper at 95 mph is serious threat rather than the one at 88 mph.

  • 2MikeGattings on October 28, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    Aye, he's a useful back up to Mitchell Starc ;)

  • on October 28, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    johnson also has problems due to his action.He has been constantly in and out the test team due to his injuries which were caused due to his pace generating action and he was left with many injuries in his back.

  • Bonehead_maz on October 28, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    Johnson played in the two most recent test matches in Australia. 50 overs, 171 runs, 9 wickets. Average stuff except for the 3 that's right 3 ! broken hands he caused including Sangakara. He hits hands of a lot of left hand batsmen. One such ball at the start of a five test series to say a Cook could have a big impact.

  • on October 28, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    If you look at his action a couple of years back,it was almost round arm,but that was the phase when he struggled to get the ball to dart back in,even his line and length were awry.But if you look at his action now,its different-the approach to the crease has changed,whereas he used to lumber in earlier,now he sprints to the crease,his arms are moving infront of him,and at the time of delivery his action is not as round arm as it was,the only thing he is doing differently is his approach to the crease and also the angle of approach.Whereas earlier his arm was close to his ear at release and he was also more chest on,which meant it was difficult to get the ball to come back in,now with the change in angle and action,his pace is also up and with slight adjustments he is able to work magic in the limited format of the game.Only time will tell if he would be able to carry this form into the longer format of the game,with a slightly old ball and can bowl 20overs per day.

  • xtrafalgarx on October 28, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    @JoshfromJamrock: This comment just shows the misunderstanding people have of Johnson. Because we don't have many of them in the world people just don't understand that Johnson is purely and simply a fastbowling strike bowler. His job is to charge in for 4-5 overs at a time and ball as fast as he can to mostly take wickets and also frighten the batsman.

    He is NOT a line and length bowler and he doesn't have to be, he is an X-factor. Like Finch or Warner are with the bat so is Johnson with the ball. He won't come off everytime but when he does, it's magic THAT"S THE POINT! He is not trying to be Glenn Mcgrath with accuracy.

    Besides even if you look at his stats, they stack up as well as anyones.

  • IndianInnerEdge on October 28, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    With this kind of performance he should be an auto selection espcically with the way Aus have struggled with their pacemen's injury. He will be a handful on the bouncy Aus wickets. The dude has really improved on his pace. Wish Ishant, Irfan, Munaf, and co could take notice of this and do something with their pace, else they will quit the game as glorified off spinners...:)

  • Selassie-I on October 28, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    He can be really dangerous, shame it's only 15% of the time, the rest he's mostly bowling it down leg or straight to 3rd slip.

  • on October 28, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    Good to see that the Aussies seem to think this guy is the answer. Good for England that is. MJ will never be a test match quality fast bowler at this later stage of his career, 1 or 2 fantastic deliveries an over simply will not cut it against patient batsmen like Cook, Root and Trott, who will block or leave the good balls, and take advantage of the predictable dross which will follow.

  • on October 28, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    Mainly agree with Sir Francis, in that Johnson hasn't bowled well since 2009. But Johnson was fantastically good, for that brief period. Circa 2010, he was truly awful. Now he seems to bowling very well, albeit in ODI's. Would largely disagree with all of Chopra's claims. "A typical left-armer's action" is quite slingy, not with a high shoulder. It true that a round arm action can make the ball "curve into right handers", but that's call swing. While a lower arm action can make the ball kiss off the deck and skid through, as Chopra mentions, the idea of seam bowling is not that the ball bounces more when it pitches with the seam upright. Outside of the subcontinent, a bowler with a "high" action who bangs the ball in, will get seam movement, which Johnson will always struggle to produce, Likewise, bowling with a "chest on" action, irrespective of whether the shoulder gets high, should produce less injuries than a bowler with a side- on action with lots of twitching and stretching.

  • on October 28, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    Mitchell Johnson has to be considered a massive disappointment, clearly the most talented Aussie fastbolwer and probably in the world. He is fast can swing ball can get seam movement has good bouncer and deadly yorker. Yet he bowls 2-3 good deliveries for every five or ten overs. At one time he was accurate and phenomenally good, but that has passed and now he is solo irratic he does not warrant spot in starting eleven unless he can regain a better accuracy.

  • Tigg on October 28, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    Johnson's always been quick and awkward. The reason he's excellent in ODIs and mediocre in tests is threefold. In ODIs the batsmen need to attack him. In ODIs conceeding 5 an over is the norm. In ODIs the pressure release ball doesn't have as big an impact as it does in tests.

  • itsthewayuplay on October 28, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    An interesting article but I have to disagree with the fundamental point that Johnson's pace alone is upsetting the batsman. As a batsman, I remember looking forward to out and out quicks who bowled fast and straight because there always opportunities to score runs with nothing more than placement. It was the slightly slower swing bowlers that caused more problems with the lateral movement. As a bowler, I could change up the pace but would see the ball disappear if I didn't do anything with it. These Indian batsmen are highy capable particularly in India and I don't think it's Johnson's pace alone that is causing the problem. I'm guessing it's the combination of the movement through the air and off the seam with the pace and then him following the basics of line and length that has made him the bowler of the series so far.

  • Cyril_Knight on October 28, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    Let's see how he goes with a red Kookaburra ball. These spurts of form are nothing new from Johnson, they come almost as regularly as his flops.

  • Sir_Francis on October 28, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    I'm so tired of the apologist for Johnson. His ODI performances have no bearing on his Test performaces.

    He hasn't bowled well since SA 2009. That's a long, long time ago.

    He has 205 wickets at 31.

    from 2009 he's taken 91 in 25 tests at 33.59 - what's so good about that!!! (and he's 32 next week) Prior to that, 26 tests 114 wickets at 28.80 not bad but not Dale Steyn.

    I'm happ[y for him to play ODIs for the next 30 years but please stop with the Test talk. He's not good enough.

  • on October 28, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    A good article. Johnson without swing becomes just an up and down bowler. A good example was available when India won the Perth test in 2008. Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee and Shaun Tait, tried to bowl as fast as possible and bounce the Indian batsmen out, but failed miserably, because they could not move the ball either in the air or off the seam. The likes of VVS and Sachin played Mitchell Johnson in that test without even opening up their stance!!! as is the won't when a right hander faces a left hand bowler. VVS in the second innings using his beautiful hands would just stretch out and cover drive Johnson with ease, since he was absolutely sure that the ball will not move.But that line up- Sehwag ( at peak), Dravid, Sachin and VVS would have fared well against any attack on any surface. Sigh.

  • Romanticstud on October 28, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    I remember when South Africa first encountered Johnson in Australia and he ran through the middle of our batting in a half hour spell ... It was classic seeing how his pace suddenly became unplayable by the likes of Kallis, Prince, Boucher and co ... Then he came to South Africa and hit both Smith and Kallis out of action ... because of the awkward bounce he generated ...

  • on October 28, 2013, 6:22 GMT

    "Indians have played pace and bounce with authority on the past " - he should be kidding. This article is similar to Akash s batting. He tends to focus so much on basics, defence etc and forgot the important thing - to score runs. In this article he doesnt express correctly if Johnson is slingy or has a round arm action.

  • HenryPorter on October 28, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    By one measure of what Mitch does, he is one of the most consistent test players around: 5 man-of-the-match awards in his 51 tests with ~1/year since Nov 2008.

  • brisCricFan on October 28, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    People love to knock Mitch, but look at him purely statistically and he is right up the top of most lists... I agree that a few seasons ago he was right off the boil (coinciding with discovering a piece of metal in his toe) and rightly was dumped but he has worked increasingly hard on his fitness, strength and action and is reaping the rewards. I have seen several of his recent performances and think that there would be a lot of top class batsmen out there at the moment that would be listing him in the top 5 bowlers going around that they wouldn't want to face with a white ball in his hand... now he needs to get them to fear his red ball again.

  • jimbond on October 28, 2013, 4:19 GMT

    I can also understand that Akash was playing cricket when his classmates were being taught things like surface tension in Physics. In other words, the dynamics of the stone being made to skip on the surface of the water is quite different from the bouncing of the ball on the ground. One thing is true. If the trajectory does not change much upon impact and if the dampening impact is less, the velocity does not diminish much. If the angle of impact is very acute, the ball will tend to skid and is also pretty fast.

  • jimbond on October 28, 2013, 4:09 GMT

    Actually the Jaipur pitch (at least those used for T20 matches) used to have something for the fast bowlers. And Sanju Samson is good, but to say that he is among the best in the world, all I can say is I hope Akash knows these things better than me.

    Along with 'what Mitch does', also important is 'what Mitch does not do'- which is what is keeping him away from the Australia team. He is NOT consistent, and does NOT make the batsmen play when the ball is moving around. If he does NOT do these things, he will remain a fringe bowler.

  • on October 28, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    Nice report (: liked it especially coz I know how tough it is to have a cross-arm bowling action. In the end, I only know Mitch who uses it in the best way!#Aus4-1

  • on October 28, 2013, 3:38 GMT

    nice article it made me remember my days where i used to play with plastic balls to improve my reflexes

  • on October 28, 2013, 3:38 GMT

    nice article it made me remember my days where i used to play with plastic balls to improve my reflexes

  • on October 28, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    Nice report (: liked it especially coz I know how tough it is to have a cross-arm bowling action. In the end, I only know Mitch who uses it in the best way!#Aus4-1

  • jimbond on October 28, 2013, 4:09 GMT

    Actually the Jaipur pitch (at least those used for T20 matches) used to have something for the fast bowlers. And Sanju Samson is good, but to say that he is among the best in the world, all I can say is I hope Akash knows these things better than me.

    Along with 'what Mitch does', also important is 'what Mitch does not do'- which is what is keeping him away from the Australia team. He is NOT consistent, and does NOT make the batsmen play when the ball is moving around. If he does NOT do these things, he will remain a fringe bowler.

  • jimbond on October 28, 2013, 4:19 GMT

    I can also understand that Akash was playing cricket when his classmates were being taught things like surface tension in Physics. In other words, the dynamics of the stone being made to skip on the surface of the water is quite different from the bouncing of the ball on the ground. One thing is true. If the trajectory does not change much upon impact and if the dampening impact is less, the velocity does not diminish much. If the angle of impact is very acute, the ball will tend to skid and is also pretty fast.

  • brisCricFan on October 28, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    People love to knock Mitch, but look at him purely statistically and he is right up the top of most lists... I agree that a few seasons ago he was right off the boil (coinciding with discovering a piece of metal in his toe) and rightly was dumped but he has worked increasingly hard on his fitness, strength and action and is reaping the rewards. I have seen several of his recent performances and think that there would be a lot of top class batsmen out there at the moment that would be listing him in the top 5 bowlers going around that they wouldn't want to face with a white ball in his hand... now he needs to get them to fear his red ball again.

  • HenryPorter on October 28, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    By one measure of what Mitch does, he is one of the most consistent test players around: 5 man-of-the-match awards in his 51 tests with ~1/year since Nov 2008.

  • on October 28, 2013, 6:22 GMT

    "Indians have played pace and bounce with authority on the past " - he should be kidding. This article is similar to Akash s batting. He tends to focus so much on basics, defence etc and forgot the important thing - to score runs. In this article he doesnt express correctly if Johnson is slingy or has a round arm action.

  • Romanticstud on October 28, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    I remember when South Africa first encountered Johnson in Australia and he ran through the middle of our batting in a half hour spell ... It was classic seeing how his pace suddenly became unplayable by the likes of Kallis, Prince, Boucher and co ... Then he came to South Africa and hit both Smith and Kallis out of action ... because of the awkward bounce he generated ...

  • on October 28, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    A good article. Johnson without swing becomes just an up and down bowler. A good example was available when India won the Perth test in 2008. Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee and Shaun Tait, tried to bowl as fast as possible and bounce the Indian batsmen out, but failed miserably, because they could not move the ball either in the air or off the seam. The likes of VVS and Sachin played Mitchell Johnson in that test without even opening up their stance!!! as is the won't when a right hander faces a left hand bowler. VVS in the second innings using his beautiful hands would just stretch out and cover drive Johnson with ease, since he was absolutely sure that the ball will not move.But that line up- Sehwag ( at peak), Dravid, Sachin and VVS would have fared well against any attack on any surface. Sigh.

  • Sir_Francis on October 28, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    I'm so tired of the apologist for Johnson. His ODI performances have no bearing on his Test performaces.

    He hasn't bowled well since SA 2009. That's a long, long time ago.

    He has 205 wickets at 31.

    from 2009 he's taken 91 in 25 tests at 33.59 - what's so good about that!!! (and he's 32 next week) Prior to that, 26 tests 114 wickets at 28.80 not bad but not Dale Steyn.

    I'm happ[y for him to play ODIs for the next 30 years but please stop with the Test talk. He's not good enough.