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Mitchell Johnson had all the required traits of a fast bowler: Jeff Thomson

Fellow Aussie pace great Jeff Thomson pays tribute to the retired Mitchell Johnson and hails the left-armer’s ability of not losing his pace after a mere few overs

Not many cricketers start with a bang and end with a bang. Some are slow starters and bow out on a high while some begin with a bang, but end on a low. I am delighted to see Mitchell Johnson hanging his boots at the peak of his career.

Australia’s Mitchell Johnson celebrates taking the wicket of England’s Tim Bresnan during the  Perth Test in 2013. PIC/Getty IMAGES
Australia’s Mitchell Johnson celebrates taking the wicket of England’s Tim Bresnan during the  Perth Test in 2013. Pic/Getty Images

I am sure he could have played a bit more, but he did not want to drag himself, which is the correct thing to do.

I am a great admirer of his work ethic. He hardly broke down with injuries — an uncommon phenomenon in the current crop of pacers. He took really good care of his body and managed his workload to perfection. He was well aware of how much Australia depended on his wicket-taking abilities.

Australia’s Mitchell Johnson celebrates taking the wicket of England’s Tim Bresnan during the  Perth Test in 2013. PIC/Getty IMAGES
Jeff Thomson

The opponents knew what kind of a threat Johnson posed to them. On any track in the world, Johnson was a deadly bowler. His sheer presence in the playing XI gave Australia the psychological edge.

I don’t remember him ever feeling the need to get involved in sledging like most of his Australian teammates. He could terrorise batsmen with sheer pace, just like me (I take that liberty here).

He was aggressive in his mind and body language. He had all the required traits of a fast bowler. The most impressive part about his bowling was that he could bowl at the same pace throughout the day (in Tests), and not fizzle out after bowling two or three spells.

One of his biggest strengths was that he could beat the batsman in the air. He improved his accuracy a lot which made him an even more difficult bowler to tackle.

I also feel Mitch was a far better batsman than what he delivered in his career. Had he concentrated a bit more on his batting skills, it would have been a different story. But I guess, he always strove harder to become a better bowler throughout his career. Mitch is one of the best role models for youngsters.

Jeff Thomson, who is in India as part of the MCA-IDBI Federal Life Insurance Bowling Foundation, spoke to Harit N Joshi

Johnson's career

>> TESTS
Matches: 73
Runs conceded: 8891
Wickets: 313
Average: 28.40
Best: 8-61

>> ODIs
Matches: 153
Runs conceded: 6038
Wickets: 239
Average: 25.26
Economy: 4.83
Best figures: 6-31

>> T20I
Matches: 30
Runs conceded: 797
Wickets: 38
Average: 20.97
Economy: 7.28
Best figures: 3-15

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