Mitchell Johnson, the Australian fast bowler, has decided to move to Western Australia after seven seasons with Queensland. The switch was motivated by his desire to be closer to his partner Jessica Bratich, a Perth-based karate expert.
"Leaving Queensland was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make, but it was something that I had to do because I am entering a very important time in my career and to constantly travel back and forth between Perth and Brisbane was not going to be an ideal situation," Johnson said in a statement.
Queensland Cricket chief executive Graham Dixon said the decision was reached on Thursday at a meeting involving Johnson and Queensland coach Trevor Barsby.
"I'm looking forward to getting everything sorted out in Perth and getting back into training before the ODI series against Bangladesh in Darwin next month," Johnson said. "Obviously this hasn't been an easy decision to make and I will leave with some regrets, but also with plenty of fond memories."
Johnson was also excited by the prospect of working with Australian fast bowling legend Dennis Lillee. "I also look forward to the opportunity of being close to Dennis Lillee, who has played a massive role in my development as a fast bowler over the years, and I will also learn a great deal from working with the likes of Bruce Reid and Tom Moody as well."
Western Australian Cricket Association chief executive Graeme Wood was thrilled to have secured Johnson's services. "He will provide outstanding leadership to the young Warriors pace bowlers with his tremendous work ethic," Wood said.
Johnson has played nine Tests, 39 one-day internationals and eight Twenty20 internationals for Australia and has now established himself as a regular in both the Test and one-day sides.