Mitchell Johnson’s back

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Mitchell Johnson - an enthusiastic umpire

As in ‘returned’. He hasn’t got ankylosing spondylitis or anything. Although that would go some way towards explaining why he’s forever spearing balls down the leg side.

We find ourself conflicted about Johnson’s recall. He has looked like a proper fast bowler of late, which is a good thing. However, we don’t particularly want England to face a proper fast bowler. We’d far rather they faced the Johnson of old – a loping bag of meat hanging from a bad haircut with all the coordination of a puppet. That would mean denying the world a fast bowler though and there aren’t many of those knocking about these days.

George Bailey looks set to play in the first Test as well. His one-day form is magic. His first-class record is middling. It will be interesting to see whether there is some monumental flaw in his batting which might be exploited or whether his grown-up brain will get him through.


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  1. Australia’s problem is not a lack of fast bowlers. We still manage to field a decent attack every game despite Pat Howard managing them into the ground.
    Australia’s problem is our batting. Mitch contributed to that back in 2009 by bowling like shit, leading to Phil Hughes being dropped in place of Shane Watson to make up the shortfall in our bowling attack. This was the first of a series of very un-Australian selection decisions leading to the mess you see today.
    Back then someone in Cricket Australia put Mitch’s interests ahead of the team.
    When you look at the players over a similar period who seem to have been snubbed for national duties despite practically hammering the door down – Hodge and Cossie for example, or the players prematurely ended such as Kattich, and compare that to the treatment of entitled wankers such as Johnson, Warner and Watson it’s not hard to see that something is rotten at the core of Australian cricket.
    Fact is, we could select 3 Johnsons and it wont make a lick of difference – we will still be a shitty mediocre side until actual structural problem is addressed. Even then it will take years to undo the damage.
    So fuck Mitch, he’s no saviour. He’s a symptom of the problem.

    1. All valid, except for the first bit. Australia manage to field a decent attack of fast-medium bowlers. Nowt wrong with that, but it’s not the same thing.

  2. He bowls to the left…

    He bowls to the right…

    That Mitchell Johnson…

    His bowling seems to have improved quite a bit over the last few years.

    1. Actually, from what we’ve seen, he still bowls to both the left and right. It’s just that he’s that much more likely to take wickets with the sporadic straight ones.

    2. He bowls to the left…

      He bowls to the right…

      That Mitchell Johnson…

      He’s that much more likely to take wickets with the sporadic straight ones.

  3. Wolf has it in a nutshell. Some players (we’ve had bus loads of them) excite the pleasure centres of selectors’ brains in ways only a fetishist would understand. These players don’t need a reason to be selected. They need a reason to be unselected. Sometimes they need several reasons to be unselected.

    Johnson was dropped from the test team in March this year. Since then, he’s played 13 ODIs, and taken 19 wickets at 27 with an economy rate of just under 5 an over. This is no different from the rest of his ODI career, marginally worse in fact. These figures are breathtakingly ordinary, superlatively meh. What has happened is that he HASN’T MADE A BALLS OF IT, and as Wolf points out, for some players that is all that’s needed. He hasn’t provided sufficient reasons to be not selected.

    Johnson’s sidearm action still requires him to be 100% perfect at the point of release, else it’s a wide. He might be able to sustain that for the 8 overs he has bowled on average in each of those 13 matches, but in a test match?

  4. Michael Clarke (captain), Brad Haddin (vice-captain, wk), George Bailey, James Faulkner, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Steven Smith, David Warner, Shane Watson.

    Per convention, it’s captain first, then vice-captain, then alphabetical after that. Coincidentally it’s also their ideal batting order.

  5. I know we shouldn’t admit it, but this looks a decent side. Even Smith and Watson are always capable of smashing a quick hundred. I’m not sure this isn’t their best side. Which is probably good news for England.

    1. I’m not sure it isn’t their best side…

      …for a series in England. Harris, Rogers, Johnson, Lyon, Watson (as a bowler) – these are all either out-and-out English-conditions specialists, or at least likely to do better in English conditions. Consider what you need for an Australian series:

      1. The ability to bat for a month
      2. Relentlessly accurate bowling
      3. Massive spin

      I reckon only Clarke can do 1, only Harris can do 2, and nobody can do 3.

      The key to this series isn’t the players listed here. It’s the players listed in the England squad. If Cook, Bell, Trott and Pietersen bat like we all know they can, if Anderson and Broad find a rhythm, and if Swann gets into a groove, this bunch of has-beens, might-have-beens and never-weres doesn’t stand a chance. If they don’t, we might have a contest.

    2. Possibly, his first class average is excellent. But I’m not completely convinced. In the last Ashes he was more notable for keeping his head when all around him were losing theirs. He still only averaged 40 for the series.

      Also, according to Cricinfo, he “is short-sighted and colour blind, which means he sometimes struggles to focus on the red ball when it mixes with the background”. So if the England players wear red caps with green bubble numbers on them, he’ll become too distracted to concentrate.

    3. Ginger makes him special. It gives him super powers. It makes anyone special. Ginger’s where it’s at. Ginger will win anyone the Ashes. Anyone who disses ginger is a ginger hater.

      Btw Im baldy. And ginger.

  6. Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, James Faulkner/Shane Watson, and Mitchell Johnson are as good as any. If England win this, it’ll be because they batted better, not bowled.

  7. Something about Johnson’s limp-wrist balled-fist run-up reminds me of a sperm beating fruitlessly against the tip of a condom.

  8. As much as his technique is questionable I think the crowd did one on Mitch last time around. They gave him nowhere to hide and I think the pressure really wrecked him. If he is back in the team for the Ashes that will weigh heavily on his mind when the song starts up…

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