The Ashes 2013-14 November 19, 2013

Mitchell Johnson's phoney war

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Ahead of his third Ashes series, Mitchell Johnson is saying all the things an Australian fast bowler is expected to. He speaks provocatively about bouncer wars, unsettling Jonathan Trott and breathing fire at 155 kph, foreshadowing tomorrow's tabloid headlines at the same moment he is making them.

But there is a key difference this time that suggests Johnson's Ashes fortunes may be rosier in 2013-14 than the decidedly mixed returns of 2009 and 2010-11. Where once Johnson was caught up in the hype and emotion of the battles with England, now he is self-aware enough to know he is playing a role. This is not to say he does not mean what he says about Trott or bouncers. Instead, Johnson knows such thoughts are only useful so long as they are channeled effectively on the field.

"I guess there's been a lot of talk that we're going to just bowl 155 clicks, bowling bouncers every ball. That's all just media hype," Johnson said. "I know what I need to do, we all know our roles in the team, we're all different bowlers, I can't give too much away in terms of plan, but it's not going to be all-out bouncers, it's picking the right times and being smart.

"I'm not worried about the speed gun anymore. When you first come in you're trying to really rip it in there and you'll check it out. Occasionally you'll see what it is. During the one-day series in England I glanced up a couple times, see the pace and think 'it didn't feel like that'. So it's really irrelevant to me, it's all about my run-up, my feel, how the ball is going through. If I'm swinging the ball late and getting good carry, if it's not swinging conditions and I'm getting that good bounce then that's all that really matters to me, seeing it go through to the keeper."

Things will be less vexing for Johnson this time around in any case, for he has been freed from the burdens of leading the attack. The pace ringleader's role has passed jointly to Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris, allowing Johnson to simply concentrate on bowling fast, swinging the ball and aiming his occasional bouncers at a batsman's armpit.

"We've definitely got the experience in this attack now where we can all compliment each other, and if someone isn't going well at the time I think we can back each other up at certain times," Johnson said. "Just in the nets today Ryan said he was struggling a little at the start, our purpose of the session was to really get into game mode, so we just helped each other out through that. That's what we're going to do throughout this series."

Johnson's even-tempered demeanour has been aided greatly by a settled personal life. He and his wife Jessica are now parents, and the memories of family problems unsettling Johnson ahead of the 2009 Lord's Test have now receded well into the distance.

"It's a great moment to have a child. Really exciting," he said. "You can have those bad days, but I've got a photo album I just flip through and it just puts a smile on your face. That's been a big factor for me having my personal life in order, and really enjoying life. In the end it's just a game of cricket.

"We build these Ashes series up, but I've learned from that in the past you can build it up too much and get too involved and too emotional. For me it's another game of cricket and at the end of the day I can ring back home to my daughter or get back home and see my daughter. It's all in good balance."

Australia will hope that balance extends to the middle, where Johnson said he was also braced for whatever the Barmy Army had in store. In keeping with his newfound sense of what does not need worrying about, he even admitted to finding himself humming along to the tunes, whatever their lyrical content.

"In the recent one-day series it wasn't the full Barmy Army but I copped a bit of stick there and I just gave it back to them when it was the right time," he said, smiling. "In the end if I'm getting wickets and playing well I don't think I'm going to cop as much. If I do I've heard it all, experienced it all and I've learned how to block it out. But it is hard at times because the songs are catchy …"

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Macker60 on | November 19, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    I have been lucky to see Johnston close up for a number of years, At his best there is not a bowler to match, His late Swing at 155 are the most dangerous balls in test cricket today. I have recently had the privilege of watching him again, And he is back to his best, He will take wickets and win games. England Have not seen him at his best, They will this year, And you know the respite England will get when Johnston is resting is to Face Siddle and Harris, From the information I am getting England will be facing a very tight nit and angry Australian Attack Something I have not seen for a Long time. And on very fast Australian Pitches.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | November 22, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    @Gautum, excellent analysis, mate. Also, you should note that in one of Johnson's last shield matches he had 5 or 6 catches dropped off his bowling and still picked up 2. It's easy to read the scorecard and say he didn't bowl well, but unless you actually know what's going on - which evidently you do not - then one shouldn't comment...

  • POSTED BY mk49_van on | November 21, 2013, 18:16 GMT

    He is the only hope the Aussies have of turning the table on the Poms. So I hope he strikes and strikes hard.

  • POSTED BY Harmony111 on | November 21, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    @Shaggy076:

    Are you saying that I should not read too deep into your comment & simply go linear??? In that case do you promise to do that yourself…and…consistently? I hope so.

    You make such a promise & my dear friend, I will stop looking for the negatives. But sadly I find negatives cos that's how the bulk of the comments of the bulk of Eng-Aus fans here are regarding India.

    Can you quote an Eng-Aus fan saying something wholeheartedly positive for India.? OTOH, a very large no of Ind fans are full of praise for several Eng-Aus players.

  • POSTED BY on | November 20, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    @Shaggy: My argument is about the difference in red and white ball cricket. All Aussies supporting Johnson, whether it is selectors, teammates or fans are saying "Johnson looks great" or "Johnson looks threatening" based on his efforts in ODI cricket- in India and before that, in England. Correct me if I am wrong, but in the last test match he played, he was wicketless. Nor has he been extraordinary in the shield game he played prior to the ashes. So, people are just talking him up without any red ball statistics to prove he has improved. And regarding my reference to the ODI in India where people said he was so good- he was only good against Raina and Yuvraj and went for 8 an over just like others did. I have facts to back up what I say and I have every right to express my opinion like you do.

  • POSTED BY on | November 20, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    I've watched MJ plenty of times and sure he can be a matchwinner at tunes, but he is just as likely to go for 100 off 20 overs and arguably lose you the match. England must treat him with respect, especially if/when he gets it right, but honestly Harris and Siddle trouble me more.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | November 20, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    Harmony111 ; I think when you read things you look for the negative, all I implied is the scores consistenly were way higher than other one-day contests and test cricket bowling can not be judged by this. I didnt say it was bad for cricket that is all implied by you. Im just not going to hang Johnson for going for 80 runs in those conditions. That is it in a nutshell - Purely a comment on Johnson position at test level.

  • POSTED BY Harmony111 on | November 20, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    @Shaggy076:

    The word postage stamp has been used by quite a few guys here. We heard it when Rohit got his 200 too. It has become routine to discount anything Indian on one or the other basis. Sometimes it is the dew, sometimes it is the umpiring, sometimes it is the ground yet each of these things happen in other countries too but we do not hear about them in those cases.

    It is good that now you realize that using the word postage stamp was wrong.

    As for what you said or did not say, there is another thing -> Implication.

    You implied that scoring runs on flat tracks with "Postage Stamp" boundaries is nothing special and needs little skill and this prompted me to remind that may be you were suggesting that since Aus scored fewer runs than India it means Aus don't even have that little skill.

    Undoubtedly Mitch bowled well in the ODIs & was really quick all the time. He deserves a spot cos Pattinson, Starc etc did not much special in India or in Eng. I look forward to Mitch vs Cook.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | November 20, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    Harmony111, I never had a crack about India's talent. My only comment was the figures can't be used to pick a test side when all bowlers were hammered. Sorry about the postage stamp comment but the rest of your post is in reaction to something I never said.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | November 20, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    @ jokerbala: I meant to say this in my previous post. Exactly mate. The fact that he can laugh about it could even be a sign that he's figured out how to deal with it as well. All in all, I'd say that if there was one player above all who would love to have a bit of a laugh at their expense, just for a change, it would be Mitch.

  • POSTED BY Macker60 on | November 19, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    I have been lucky to see Johnston close up for a number of years, At his best there is not a bowler to match, His late Swing at 155 are the most dangerous balls in test cricket today. I have recently had the privilege of watching him again, And he is back to his best, He will take wickets and win games. England Have not seen him at his best, They will this year, And you know the respite England will get when Johnston is resting is to Face Siddle and Harris, From the information I am getting England will be facing a very tight nit and angry Australian Attack Something I have not seen for a Long time. And on very fast Australian Pitches.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | November 22, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    @Gautum, excellent analysis, mate. Also, you should note that in one of Johnson's last shield matches he had 5 or 6 catches dropped off his bowling and still picked up 2. It's easy to read the scorecard and say he didn't bowl well, but unless you actually know what's going on - which evidently you do not - then one shouldn't comment...

  • POSTED BY mk49_van on | November 21, 2013, 18:16 GMT

    He is the only hope the Aussies have of turning the table on the Poms. So I hope he strikes and strikes hard.

  • POSTED BY Harmony111 on | November 21, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    @Shaggy076:

    Are you saying that I should not read too deep into your comment & simply go linear??? In that case do you promise to do that yourself…and…consistently? I hope so.

    You make such a promise & my dear friend, I will stop looking for the negatives. But sadly I find negatives cos that's how the bulk of the comments of the bulk of Eng-Aus fans here are regarding India.

    Can you quote an Eng-Aus fan saying something wholeheartedly positive for India.? OTOH, a very large no of Ind fans are full of praise for several Eng-Aus players.

  • POSTED BY on | November 20, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    @Shaggy: My argument is about the difference in red and white ball cricket. All Aussies supporting Johnson, whether it is selectors, teammates or fans are saying "Johnson looks great" or "Johnson looks threatening" based on his efforts in ODI cricket- in India and before that, in England. Correct me if I am wrong, but in the last test match he played, he was wicketless. Nor has he been extraordinary in the shield game he played prior to the ashes. So, people are just talking him up without any red ball statistics to prove he has improved. And regarding my reference to the ODI in India where people said he was so good- he was only good against Raina and Yuvraj and went for 8 an over just like others did. I have facts to back up what I say and I have every right to express my opinion like you do.

  • POSTED BY on | November 20, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    I've watched MJ plenty of times and sure he can be a matchwinner at tunes, but he is just as likely to go for 100 off 20 overs and arguably lose you the match. England must treat him with respect, especially if/when he gets it right, but honestly Harris and Siddle trouble me more.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | November 20, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    Harmony111 ; I think when you read things you look for the negative, all I implied is the scores consistenly were way higher than other one-day contests and test cricket bowling can not be judged by this. I didnt say it was bad for cricket that is all implied by you. Im just not going to hang Johnson for going for 80 runs in those conditions. That is it in a nutshell - Purely a comment on Johnson position at test level.

  • POSTED BY Harmony111 on | November 20, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    @Shaggy076:

    The word postage stamp has been used by quite a few guys here. We heard it when Rohit got his 200 too. It has become routine to discount anything Indian on one or the other basis. Sometimes it is the dew, sometimes it is the umpiring, sometimes it is the ground yet each of these things happen in other countries too but we do not hear about them in those cases.

    It is good that now you realize that using the word postage stamp was wrong.

    As for what you said or did not say, there is another thing -> Implication.

    You implied that scoring runs on flat tracks with "Postage Stamp" boundaries is nothing special and needs little skill and this prompted me to remind that may be you were suggesting that since Aus scored fewer runs than India it means Aus don't even have that little skill.

    Undoubtedly Mitch bowled well in the ODIs & was really quick all the time. He deserves a spot cos Pattinson, Starc etc did not much special in India or in Eng. I look forward to Mitch vs Cook.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | November 20, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    Harmony111, I never had a crack about India's talent. My only comment was the figures can't be used to pick a test side when all bowlers were hammered. Sorry about the postage stamp comment but the rest of your post is in reaction to something I never said.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | November 20, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    @ jokerbala: I meant to say this in my previous post. Exactly mate. The fact that he can laugh about it could even be a sign that he's figured out how to deal with it as well. All in all, I'd say that if there was one player above all who would love to have a bit of a laugh at their expense, just for a change, it would be Mitch.

  • POSTED BY Harmony111 on | November 20, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    @Shaggy076:

    What do you mean Postage Stamp boundaries? The Nagpur ODI, where India chased down 350 yet again, had 80 metre boundaries. The bangalore stadium too has boundaries that are between 76-80 metres. Had you actually seen the matches or paid any attention to the data while watching them then you would have known this. For reference, MCG, the biggest ground in the world has boundaries that are 82 metre long. So are you now gonna say that 82 metre boundary is long but 80 metre boundary is postage stamp?

    And even if the boundaries were postage stamp big, why did your batsman not score more runs against a very weal Indian bowling? India scored more runs than Aus, in far more tense situations, against a much better bowling attack. If the wickets were that flat and boundaries that small then does it not mean that Aus are really really poor that they can't win even though they win all the tosses and have the advantage of making the first move? And don't tell me this was your B team.

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | November 20, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    This is a different Mitchell Johnson. I can feel it in my bones. THIS Ashes will see a far more mature and ruthless bowler, who will be at frightening pace and accuracy. The Barmy Army can go stuff themselves.He will win us THIS Ashes.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | November 20, 2013, 0:45 GMT

    People seem to forget that the only reason Mitch is in the Test team is because of injuries to the 2 or 3 blokes ahead of him in the queue. He's our 4th/5th choice seamer. Pattinson, Starc and Bird would all have been picked before Mitch, if they were available.

    Who knows, it might turn out to be a happy accident. .. Sure, the best we can really do is HOPE that MJ comes good, I don't think there are too many Aussies emphatically saying that he definitely will do the business. That's been pointed out heaps and is fair enough because it's true.

    Just the same, I liked what he had to say in this article. He doesn't worry about his pace these days. He said he rarely looks at the reading. He's more concerned about what's happening at the batsmens end of the wicket and that can only be good. .. go hard Mitch, play YOUR game and jam it right up them. .. I think it's about time England had a real good look at the other Mitch.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | November 19, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    Gautam N. Shenoy; I cant recall ever reading one of your opinion pieces that was ever close to reality. Its laughable that you are going to write him off from a one-day series where every bowler other than Johnson went at 8 runs an over, on flat pitches with postage stamp boundaries. You make reference to red ball so you obviously know the difference, but your happy to use white ball examples (it was a very poor example too). Please stick to commenting on whatever you know, whatever that may be.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | November 19, 2013, 22:06 GMT

    Johnson hasn't bowled waywardly for some time now and love the English fans having a laugh. Truth is he has taken care of a far better batting line up than what this English lot have got in the past when he went through South Africa leading Australia to an away series victory. South Africa has always comfortable stood above England, as the evidence of the last series in England proved and it seems foolish to laugh this bloke off before the series has started with that history. As much as he is ridiculed his average is on par with Anderson, better than Broad and Finn, imagine if he brought his A game every time and the latest evidence suggests it is back.

  • POSTED BY handyandy on | November 19, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    He bowled well enough in his 3 home matches last season. If he can repeat those performances Australia will be well served.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | November 19, 2013, 20:43 GMT

    English fans can laugh all they want, truth is when he was at his bests he had beaten better batsman than they have. South Africa have always been better than England and by some margin yet Mitch has beaten them almost single handedly. Indian fans Gautam N Shemoy in particular as you have never seen a decent fast bowler play for India in your life time you Ayer probably not qualified to give an opinion. Can't believe you even used stats from the recent one-day series geared up got batsman to make your point. Your holier than now opinion pieces have always been quite laughable this one was no exception.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    Oh boy! Every second article these days is about Johnson. So much anticipation. it is almost like a hail mary- they have picked him and are praying to God he will fire. Johnson is fast and wide. There are no Yuvrajs and Rainas in the English test team and honestly, with all his pace, these are the only two batsmen he troubled in India in a series where Kohli, Rohit and Dhawan beat the living daylight sof all bowlers including Johnson. I don't know why bowling fast (despite the fact that fast is not good when aimed at 8th slip) is being over rated. Johnson has been around for a very long time and how many match winning spells can you remember? 3 or 4 at the most.Aussies are good at picking up average players and talking them up to the extent they almost believe it is true. Johnson will prove where he stands in red ball cricket in this ashes once again, when the English amass runs off him and maybe he will learn a few more catchy songs this season.

  • POSTED BY ReverseSweepIndia on | November 19, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    this time it sure is going to be different than usual 'to the left, to the right' Johnson. He bowled in 4 matches here in India and after each match I was hoping that today OTHER Mitch will turn out and Yuvi & Raina will tear apart the Aussies. Didn't happened. Before those 4 matches, even in ODIs in ENG the OTHER Mitch didn't turned up. Only guy bowling was a left-hander shooting swinging bolts at 150+. I do not remember watching THIS Mitch, this consistent in last 5-6 years. I will be worried if I am an Eng batter.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | November 19, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    All this talk of England's third seamer has only exposed the cold truth: Australia have Mitchell Johnson as their third seamer!! lol

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | November 19, 2013, 16:19 GMT

    You all will never know how deeply disappointed English cricket fans were in 2009 when Mitchell Johnson turned up, hyped to the skies, and dissappointed.

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | November 19, 2013, 15:34 GMT

    @myself: "that" should be "than"... i.e. "defeating a fired-up, in form Aus. team would/will be much more exciting and fulfilling THAN steamrolling over another lacklustre, disappointing team display".

  • POSTED BY kunderan on | November 19, 2013, 15:30 GMT

    Macker60, I hope you are right about MJ and the other Aussie bowlers. If they are well knit, they would be formidable and relentless and it would make for some good and interesting cricket.

    Hope it's a closely fought series and may the best team win! As a cricket lover, I always enjoy watching the two teams play each other although I don't like the over the top hype that surrounds it.

  • POSTED BY BradmanBestEver on | November 19, 2013, 15:26 GMT

    Macker60 I hope you are right about MJ mate - going on MJ's history you have a 50% chance of being right!

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | November 19, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Sponge (post on November 19, 2013, 10:49 GMT): "deep down the English fans will be willing him to fail because they have no bowler like him..." - For once would you stop tarring us all with the same brush, and realise that the majority of us want to see cricket at its best. Maintaining the Ashes despite a firing, in form MJ (and I'll even put Warner down here) would/will be much more exciting and fulfilling that steamrolling over another lacklustre, disappointing performance. 'Predictions/opinions' and 'wants/wishes' are two different things.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on | November 19, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    @Shailendra, did you write a bunch of random, unfounded statements, place them in a hat and pick one out? It seems that way.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    Strikes Me, Milhouse, that Devon Malcolm is exactly the right comparator for Mitchie. That, however, doesn't mean that either are/were rubbish; Big-Mitchie can't lead an attack though.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    It is difficult for Johnson to take wickets against England in Ashes, because at the moment he is over relying on bouncers and he has no good swing as in past and obviously england made their plans to counter this. The Johnson will Fail to impact on ASHES.

  • POSTED BY Jimmers on | November 19, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    I like to see him when he's in good nick and bowling fast, but I don't think he'll be able to keep it up over 5 days for 5 Tests. He'll probably have good short spells and that might turn out to be enough, but if not I think we'll see the MJ of the famous song make a return

  • POSTED BY 200ondebut on | November 19, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    No it wont be all bouncers - he will probably mix it up with some long hops, full tosses and half volleys - like last time. He'll come good at Perth but will be out of the side by Sydney.

    Hate to say it but his mental frailty will come to light again - just like before.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    Bowling to two left handed openers I expect the square boundary both sides of the wicket to take a bit of a hammering.

  • POSTED BY Sir_Ivor on | November 19, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    In India Johnson was very very fast. He bowled most times at over 145kmph and often went over 150 many times without much additional effort. In fact his slower ball was the only one in his arsenal that seemed slow. He was very effective because apart from raw pace, he had that ability to in swing the ball at great speed. If he is as accurate as he was iin India then not just Trott who turns the ball to leg pretty often, but all right hand batsmen will feel the heat.When there is a bowler who is so fast, the batsmen have to pick the length in a fraction of a second. So fast bowling like what Mitch is delivering these days is enough to test the response and skills of the greatest of batsmen. He also goes round the wicket and bowls the ball that moves away from the left hand bats.Considering that Cook had problems with that line in the last Ashes, it will be interesting to see how he counters such balls.I expect Johnson,Siddle,Harris and Hilfy if he plays to make it difficult for England.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Sponge on | November 19, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    If he fires, like his very very very recent form suggests he will, he will be a very hot prospect for England's batsmen who have no match practice on wickets that will be seen in the test series. By all means drag up his past troubles and his average (same as abroad and Anderson) but deep down the English fans will be willing him to fail because they have no bowler like him. Recent form is our best guide and Mitch is on fire.

  • POSTED BY willsrustynuts on | November 19, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    "...it's not going to be all-out bouncers, it's picking the right times and being smart. "

    Oh dear....someone told Mitch it is about being smart... oh dear oh dear oh dear.

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | November 19, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    All depends on which Mitch turns up for the games. Don't think anyone is denying what MJ is capable of; but if he gets a bad dose of the yips (yet again!), there could be nothing in this series for him except a few new verses in that infamous Barmy Army chant...

    Good luck to him though. There's no way I would like to face him - in form or not!

  • POSTED BY Jaffa79 on | November 19, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    For me, Mitchell is huge in this series. If he clicks, he'll make it tough for England that is for sure but people shouldn't get hung up on pace! Devon Malcolm was quick! It is a useful commodity for sure but not the be all and end all. For MJ, it is, like many left armers, the ability to bring the ball back into the right handers. It he does that, it opens up the lbw and bowled, makes batters play at ones that could leave. If not, he can huff and puff all day long and 90% of his deliveries will angle through to the keeper or be on legstump. I'd be happy for Mitchell to try and knock the Englishmen's heads off, as it will cut his effectiveness in half.

  • POSTED BY jokerbala on | November 19, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    good on you Mitch. At least somebody has a sense of humor.

  • POSTED BY jokerbala on | November 19, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    good on you Mitch. At least somebody has a sense of humor.

  • POSTED BY Jaffa79 on | November 19, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    For me, Mitchell is huge in this series. If he clicks, he'll make it tough for England that is for sure but people shouldn't get hung up on pace! Devon Malcolm was quick! It is a useful commodity for sure but not the be all and end all. For MJ, it is, like many left armers, the ability to bring the ball back into the right handers. It he does that, it opens up the lbw and bowled, makes batters play at ones that could leave. If not, he can huff and puff all day long and 90% of his deliveries will angle through to the keeper or be on legstump. I'd be happy for Mitchell to try and knock the Englishmen's heads off, as it will cut his effectiveness in half.

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | November 19, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    All depends on which Mitch turns up for the games. Don't think anyone is denying what MJ is capable of; but if he gets a bad dose of the yips (yet again!), there could be nothing in this series for him except a few new verses in that infamous Barmy Army chant...

    Good luck to him though. There's no way I would like to face him - in form or not!

  • POSTED BY willsrustynuts on | November 19, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    "...it's not going to be all-out bouncers, it's picking the right times and being smart. "

    Oh dear....someone told Mitch it is about being smart... oh dear oh dear oh dear.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Sponge on | November 19, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    If he fires, like his very very very recent form suggests he will, he will be a very hot prospect for England's batsmen who have no match practice on wickets that will be seen in the test series. By all means drag up his past troubles and his average (same as abroad and Anderson) but deep down the English fans will be willing him to fail because they have no bowler like him. Recent form is our best guide and Mitch is on fire.

  • POSTED BY Sir_Ivor on | November 19, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    In India Johnson was very very fast. He bowled most times at over 145kmph and often went over 150 many times without much additional effort. In fact his slower ball was the only one in his arsenal that seemed slow. He was very effective because apart from raw pace, he had that ability to in swing the ball at great speed. If he is as accurate as he was iin India then not just Trott who turns the ball to leg pretty often, but all right hand batsmen will feel the heat.When there is a bowler who is so fast, the batsmen have to pick the length in a fraction of a second. So fast bowling like what Mitch is delivering these days is enough to test the response and skills of the greatest of batsmen. He also goes round the wicket and bowls the ball that moves away from the left hand bats.Considering that Cook had problems with that line in the last Ashes, it will be interesting to see how he counters such balls.I expect Johnson,Siddle,Harris and Hilfy if he plays to make it difficult for England.

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    Bowling to two left handed openers I expect the square boundary both sides of the wicket to take a bit of a hammering.

  • POSTED BY 200ondebut on | November 19, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    No it wont be all bouncers - he will probably mix it up with some long hops, full tosses and half volleys - like last time. He'll come good at Perth but will be out of the side by Sydney.

    Hate to say it but his mental frailty will come to light again - just like before.

  • POSTED BY Jimmers on | November 19, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    I like to see him when he's in good nick and bowling fast, but I don't think he'll be able to keep it up over 5 days for 5 Tests. He'll probably have good short spells and that might turn out to be enough, but if not I think we'll see the MJ of the famous song make a return

  • POSTED BY on | November 19, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    It is difficult for Johnson to take wickets against England in Ashes, because at the moment he is over relying on bouncers and he has no good swing as in past and obviously england made their plans to counter this. The Johnson will Fail to impact on ASHES.