Mitchell Johnson announces retirement
Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson will retire from international cricket at the conclusion of the Test against New Zealand in Perth. "I feel now is the best time to say goodbye," Johnson said. "I have been lucky enough to have had a wonderful career and enjoyed every moment of playing for my country." Johnson was given a guard of honour by the New Zealand team.
Born and raised in Queensland, Mitchell Johnson's talent was first spotted by Austalia's former great Dennis Lillee, who called him a "once-in-nine-lives prospect". He debuted in first-class cricket in 2001, when he was selected to play state cricket for his native Queensland. But a string of injuries including a fourth stress fracture in 2003 put the breaks on Johnson's career.
After a series of injuries almost ended his career before it started, Johnson famously drove a plumbing van after losing his Queensland contract, contemplated retirement, before he came back good and made his Test debut in 2007, aged 26.
Johnson announced himself in 2008, in a fiery performance against South Africa in Perth, taking seven wickets for only 12 runs. 'MJ' was also devastating against South Africa in 2009, in Durban. The same year Johnson had one of the worst stages of his career. Playing his first Ashes series, finishing with 200-3 at Lord's, he was criticised for his poor bowling.
In the 2009 back-to-back series, Mitchell Johnson terrorised the Proteas who were the best batting side in the world. He ripped into them in Durban, breaking captain Graeme Smith's hand and splitting open Jacques Kallis' chin.
Ahead of the 2013-14 Ashes, Johnson was an unpopular choice and was viewed by many as a liability, especially against a side that had plenty of previous success against him. Johnson though redeemed himself tearing through the England line-up at Brisbane, taking nine wickets as the visitors collapsed. He finished with 37 wickets and was named man of the series, as Australia won 5-0.
Despite the 2015 World Cup victory, Johnson wasn't quite the force to be reckoned with in the last months of his career. Johnson's form ebbed by the 2015 Ashes and by the time New Zealand arrived for the current series, he was already considering pulling stumps on his career. Speculation was rife about Johnson's future with the bowler admitting that he thought about retirement.
Mitchell Johnson is the only man other than Ricky Ponting to be named World Player of the Year twice, in 2009 and 2014. In a career spanning a decade, Johnson bagged 589 wickets since his debut. A two-time World Cup winner (2007 and 2015), Johnson finished with 313 wickets in 73 Tests, behind only Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Lillee among Australian bowlers.