Mitchell Johnson takes England back to the Nineties

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At one stage South Africa were 6-3, effectively 6-4, as Graeme Smith had been hospitalised. The man who did this was Mitchell Johnson and he forced Jacques Kallis to retire hurt shortly afterwards.

Johnson provided bounce, swing and crucially, pace. Mitchell Johnson is a fast bowler. We’d say a ‘genuine’ fast bowler, but in our eyes, you either are or you aren’t.

A month ago, England could at least comfort themselves that Australia were matching them shambles for shambles. Now the Aussies have Phil Hughes set for 15 years of Test destruction and they’ve got Mitchell Johnson scaring the hell out of a top drawer South African batting line-up.

Meanwhile, England have a glut of fast-medium bowlers waiting for the ball to swing and the team changes after every Test. We seem to be returning to the Nineties at a rate of knots.

Younger readers might not fully appreciate the concept of the Nineties. They might think it’s just another decade. In English cricket terms, it’s actually a form of purgatory.

The Ashes was rather like India against Zimbabwe, only there was no chance that the ICC would take pity on England and ban them from Test cricket. They couldn’t even get away with two or three match series. Because it was the Ashes, they had to play five or even six Tests.

It might be time to officially start hating Mitchell Johnson. Shall we put it to the vote?


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  1. I would vote that we (“we” being the kingcricket community circle of lovers, which, as of this post, I am a member of) just start to hate him now.

    Why should we wait until he takes 7-42 against England?

    We’d only be delaying the inevitable by putting it off.

    I’ve missed the Matthew Hayden posts, it’s time he was replaced by some equally talentless Australian.


  2. I’d like to put in an early vote in favour of hating Mitchell Johnson.

    And Phil Hughes, while I’m at it. Twenty years old and scoring two hundreds in his second Test – what is he playing at? I know for a fact that when I was twenty years old, I had better things to be doing than scoring Test hundreds.

  3. Early vote for me too, for both. A suggestion – Hughes should retire now, he’s achieved all he can, and even averages more than Bradman…

    I first learned to love cricket during the early nineties – we English are gluttons for punishment. That way, as I keep telling myself over and over like a mantra, the successes are all the sweeter.

  4. @Dave: I’m 20 years old and my highest score for my club team is 36. It’s sad that it only took Phil (cricinfo says he likes to be called Phillip) Hughes 2 innings to best my best.

  5. I am reserving my most vitriolic hatred for hands-in-front-of-stumps Haddin, but am willing to cheer on a step-on-the-ball-like-McGrath injury to Johnson in the summer

  6. You’re all getting ahead of yourselves. He’s just having a good patch, that’s all. A flash in the pan. And Hughes, well, what team hasn’t had a batsman who has come into test cricket with a couple of big scores, only to disappear into the abyss of expectation soon after.

    Test cricket is not built on such as these. Consistent mediocrity – that’s what it’s all about. They’d be better off with a Bell, or a Cook, or a Sidebottom.

    I have two close friends who are Australian, and if the above turns out not to be true, I’m in for the worst few months since, er, the winter of 06/07. Please let it be true, please, please, please.

  7. Maybe it’s not so bad being back in the 90s – David Lloyd could come back as England coach and we could flippin’ murder the Aussies this summer!

  8. The nineties are truly back- as you’ve stated, the aussies are doing their bit, and now we’re obliging by turning Anderson and Broad into Ilott and McCague. Hoorah! Can we recall Jon Crawley? Hoorah!

  9. Bert – I think you do Ian Bell an injustice there: he averaged nearly 300 after his first couple of tests, so he has been both a flash in the pan *and* a consistent mediocrity.

  10. Hughes and Johnson I can take, for now. They are doing a turn on a team containing Jaques Kallis and Greame Smith.

  11. I find Mitchell Johnson quite difficult to dislike, actually. He always looks endearingly goofy in photos, and the way he runs up to the crease reminds me of Hank Venture (the one on the right). It’s just what happens when he gets to the crease that’s objectionable, and that doesn’t usually last very long.

    I vote for a refocus of hating efforts on long-standing targets that have borne fruit in the past (i.e. Ponting).

  12. Ponting’s probably quite high up the hit list for his teary-eyed umpire remonstrations.

    Either cry or shut up. Those are the choices.

  13. I’ve been trying out Hating Mitchell Johnson for a while now and can thoroughly recommend it.

    I can also recommend hating Peter Siddle too. just look at him and his annoying face.

  14. It surely has to come down to which one’s brother turns up here to sledge them; nobody could hate someone whose family does that. So come on, Slightly Johnson and Percy Siddle*, give it your best shot.

    (*actual brothers may vary)

  15. King,

    I suggest you wait for Johnson to develop the ball that comes back into the right-hander. Then you’ll have no reason not to hate. Till then, hold it back a bit.

  16. I think we are not hitting the right areas with our hatred. Our hatred is doing good in the nets but when it matters we lack the line and the length. These fellows are doing really well and our hatred is being wasted. What about refocusing our hatred towards somebody that is already down or likely to be? I know it sounds cheap, but that is the beauty of it. In the short term, the revenues of such move would be higher as we will be able to argue that it was our hatred that managed to bring the selected individual down.
    I’d like to suggest we consider Sir Allen Stanford, which seems like a sure win nowadays.
    (Note to lawyers in general and those working for Sir Allen Stanford in particular – I mean hatred just in the most respectful sense)

  17. Mitchell hasnt done anything to attract hate apart from being a good player. To truly be hated you need to have ‘special’ personal qualities on top of that.

    As an Australian I would like to nominate Ponting. He has an outstanding win/loss record in spite of the moronic decisions he makes on field, he consistantly tries to claim grassed/non catches (either by himself or a teammate) and he has the audacity to claim he is 100% right even when video evidence claims the contrary.

    You can hate him for scoring plenty of runs too.

  18. I’m already leaning towards hating Johnson for his stupid action and breaking Graeme Smith’s hands.

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