Cricket fans stumped over Mitchell Johnson's retirement

His absence will not only be missed by the Australian team, but all fans.

 |  Thinking Deva  |  4-minute read |   17-11-2015
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Life just became a bit easier for batsmen padding up, with a fair degree of trepidation, to the menacing Australian pace battery. The reason? The linchpin of that feared attack, Mitchell Johnson, on Tuesday announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket, at the end of the drawn second Test against New Zealand. Those bouncers whooshing past a batsman's ears, those deadly yorkers threatening to crush the toes and that often unplayable swing made Johnson one of the most feared bowlers of the game. His raw pace imperilled life and limb.

Johnson took over the mantle of leading the Australian attack after the retirement of another speed merchant Brett Lee and led it with distnction. He found an able ally in Mitchell Starc, terrorising batsmen the world over. After Shoaib Akhtar, Brett Lee, and the South African duo of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, possibly none other instilled the same amount of fear in the hearts of batsmen as Johnson, among pacemen of the contemporary times.

Our memory readily jogs back to the first Ashes Test in Brisbane in 2013 when England which was coasting at 82-2 were blown away by Johnson's fire, getting bundled out for a paltry 136. England lost six wickets for nine runs in ten overs as Johnson (4/61) and Ryan Harris (3-28) rode roughshod on all resistance. One also remembers how Johnson had the Indians hopping in their last tour Down Under in 2014-'15.

What made Johnson stand out was his aggression that made batsmen tremble at the crease. But what was more important was that the aggression was controlled and was channelised to reap rich harvests, unlike what players like S Sreesanth could achieve. This made Johnson special.

Also read: Mitchell Johnson exposed!

Johnson's records speak for themselves and testify what a fine player he was. Over 300 wickets in Tests and over 200 wickets in ODIs tell you that here was a bowler who was as tough to handle as you could ever have. He was also more than a capable batsman lower down the order and boasts of a Test century. He scored over 2,000 runs in Tests and close to 1,000 runs in ODIs. That is no mean feat. He played a pivotal role in Australia's World Cup triumph earlier this year. The fact that he was showered with praise by the great Sachin Tendulkar proves the quality he brought to the table.

However, nothing lasts forever. Johnson will not only be missed in the Australian team, but also by the cricket connoisseur. Batsmen who have had to face Johnson's fiery pace would probably rejoice, but not the cricket lover (and Australian supporters, of course). Perhaps the 34-year-old could have carried on playing for a bit longer, and the news did take people by surprise, but he felt now was "the best time to say goodbye", in a way, following the footsteps of Australian legend Steve Waugh, who was a great believer of going out before your form deserts you. We will have to accept Johnson's decision with heavy hearts, but let's salute his stellar contributions to the game of cricket in general. He played an important role that contributed to Australia's cricket dominance.

Here's how people took to Twitter to celebrate Johnson's glittering career:

Your retirement is a terrible blow for cricket, Midge. You have made the cricket fraternity proud. Enjoy your life post retirement.

Writer

Debdutta Bhattacharjee Debdutta Bhattacharjee @debduttab10

He is a journalist with DailyO

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