London, Aug.12 (ANI): Australian left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson is loving his newly discovered art of sledging, and said he will ramp it up during next week’s fifth and final Test at The Oval after rediscovering his form and confidence at Headingley.
“I don’t normally say too much, but maybe it was a bit of a surprise to those guys for me to say something,” Johnson said.
“It felt good to do it and I’ll continue to do it. Just keep puffing my chest out and keep getting into the contest … a stare here and there. I think that’s definitely worked for me and I’ve definitely got a lot more confidence now and really enjoying it again,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him, as saying.
The rejuvenated pacer also admitted that the English crowd had got under his skin in the second Test, causing him to lose focus and nearly his spot in the side.
“I didn’t really know where they were going, to be honest. I bowled a lot of wide, short balls. That was a pretty tough moment for me. To be copping it from the English crowd, I didn’t know how to deal with it at the time. It was the most I’ve copped it,” Jonson said of that experience at Lord’s.
There were no more mocking songs to be heard after Johnson’s excellent spell of 5-69 to wrap up the fourth Test inside three days.
Johnson is not a bowler who responds well to intense coaching. These technical considerations got inside Johnson’s head earlier this tour, when he was wound up and unable to think clearly. It took a simple word with vice-captain Michael Clarke during a tour match in Northamptonshire, between the second and third Tests, for Johnson to click again.
“During that Lord’s Test, I can remember clearly I was thinking about wrist position, I was thinking about front-arm pull-down, I was thinking about running in, I was thinking about everything that I could,” Johnson said.
“Edgbaston was totally different. I just ran in, didn’t worry about it. Michael Clarke said to me at the practice game, when he came out to field, ‘Just run in and bowl fast. That’s what you do best’. That’s what I’ve been trying to do: run in, hit my areas and not worry about technical stuff out on the field. It’s been a bit different than normal. The first two Tests especially, I felt a bit more pressure than I have in the past. I’ve started to handle it a lot more now,” Johnson said.
He also said issues taking place off the field did not affect when he was on the field.
He was referring to the much publicised spat between his mother, Vicky Harber, and his girlfriend, Jessica Bratich.
Johnson has 16 wickets at 32.62 for the series, and has retained his No.3 ranking on the ICC’s top Test bowlers list after the spirited fight back in Leeds. (ANI)