With 590 international wickets in three formats of the game, Aussie left arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson is considered to be one of the all time greats cricket has ever produced. In spite of his retirement from the International circuit, he is very much involved in the game, providing fitness mantra to the upcoming fast bowlers throughout the world. Post retirement, he is also a keen observer of the sport. Johnson opens up to CricketSoccer regarding the sensational form of Virat Kohli, Australia’s upcoming tour to India and many more.
Here are the excerpts:
CricketSoccer: Having seen Virat Kohli dominating bowlers in all the three formats of the game, how would you rate him in the realm of Cricket’s all time great?
Mitchell Johnson: Virat Kohli has really become a threat to the bowlers. He can be devastating in any condition and in any circumstances. There are not many players playing nowadays who can dominate both the fast bowlers and spinners. Having said that, I must mention that it’s not the ideal time to rate him as he is going to play for another 5-6 years.
CS: Your on field rivalry with Kohli during India’s last tour to Australia was something the Cricket lovers will never forget. Looking back at that series, how is the feeling now?
MJ: The contest and on field fire, is something I will miss badly as that was something I enjoyed. I haven’t seen any other batsman dominating Aussie pace attack and that too in their own backyard. I’m sure you will see Kohli continue with that kind of stuff.
CS: Which team do you think to be favourite in the upcoming India-Australia series?
MJ: If the series were to be played in Australia, I couldn’t have gone past Australia. But playing at home, India will be a side very difficult side to defeat. At the same time, Australia will definitely come out with a point to prove.
CS: The Aussie captain and coach might have been the happiest persons if you would lead the bowling attack against India. Is there any sorrow in you not to be a part of the team?
MJ: I made the right decision and I am happy with my decision. I do miss parts of the game, but now it is time for the young guys to go out there and play fair and aggressive cricket. I look forward to watching it!
CS: How would you rate the current Indian pace attack?
MJ: It’s great to see fast bowlers bowling for India. Both Shami and Umesh have the pace, bounce and swing. Shami can also do the reverse one. Usually among the sub continental countries, Pakistan is the birthplace of many a talented fast bowlers. But now a day, pacers from India as well as Bangladesh are doing pretty well.
CS: You bid adieu to cricket at 34 while Asish Nehra makes his comeback at 36 and playing T20 matches for India quite regularly. Are you surprised?
MJ: If you have the passion and fire and can compete at this level, then i applaud him. He obviously feels he still has something more to give and i think with 20/20 cricket around, you have more opportunities to play longer or as in Asish Nehra’s case, make a comeback.
CS: What would be your advice to Indian pacers if you were to mentor them during the upcoming Australia series, as the Australian batsmen are very good players of pace?
MJ: I would say, keep it simple. Set good fields. Just back yourself and enjoy the experience of international cricket.
CS: Whom do you think to be the best pacer of the world right now and why?
MJ: To be honest, I haven’t watched a lot of other series around. I think Trent Boult and Tim Southee are a great opening pair. Also Stuart Broad has been in great touch. I really rate Josh Hazelwood and believe he has a big future ahead of him.
CS: How is life after cricket?
MJ: Ohh, it’s been great! Family time and Christmas together has really been fun and enjoyable. I have also been working on a cricket fitness app for fast bowlers with former Australia fitness coach Jock Campbell called Bowlfit. Moreover, I have become number 1 ticket holder with Jessica for local team East Perth so I will be watching a few games throughout the year.