We are sad to announce that the Johnson Watch feature is being dropped after just one instalment.
The main reason for this is that the protagonist failed to hold up his side of the bargain. He didn’t bowl badly while hinting that he could bowl brilliantly at some point soon. He just bowled badly.
Johnson says he needs to get his head straight. Not sure what means. Probably something about needing to bowl straight.
Johnson, like Steve Harmison, is a prime example of a bowler whose performance range is too large. He sometimes hits the heights, but he sometimes hits square leg.
We told you that the tattooed arm should be ‘the doing arm’.
We figure we’ll formalise the Mitchell Johnson victimisation this year. Might as well. So here it is: ‘Johnson Watch’.
Sounds a bit rude, but only really if you’re American – and as we all know, Americans don’t count.
What passes for Mitchell Johnson news today is the following quote from Australia coach, Tim Nielsen:
“There’s a couple of little things we can work on. We can make sure we jump around the bowling group and each other and make sure he’s in as good a place as he can be.”
No idea what that means. Probably something about Johnson being a cack-handed gifford whose arms are possessed by gremlins.
Please don’t drop Mitchell Johnson.
One thing we don’t like about modern cricket is the long batting order. We want to see the best batsmen against the best bowlers and then we want the lower order to just fold so that we can get on to the next innings.
In truth, these long batting orders are no such thing. Test pitches are more forgiving these days, so mediocre batsmen can score well. Yesterday, Mitchell Johnson – a reasonable batsman with a Test hundred – was asked a couple of questions by the man who sounds like he should be a Nordic aviary, Danish Kaneria. Mitchell Johnson did not have the answers.
If it were a French test, Johnson would have said ‘boeuf?’ in the vain hope that might have made sense. It didn’t.
A couple of wide deliveries were left alone. Johnson looked like he knew what he was doing, but they were wide enough he could leave them without needing to know which they were spinning.
A straighter ball then had to be played at because if it were a leg break, it would have hit the stumps. Was it a leg break? No, it was a googly. Johnson’s defensive push missed it by about a foot. “Boeuf?”
Next ball was fractionally wider and maybe a bit fuller. Is it the googly again, Mitchell? Kaneria’s leg break splattered the stumps.
From Fox Sports:
“Johnson had come to the bowling crease for the fifth over and was greeted with the ‘wanker’ chant.”
What’s the ‘wanker’ chant? Is there one particular ‘wanker’ chant that’s better known than all the others? We know a bunch of them.
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? You’re crouching down, trying to tie your shoelaces and a big group of lads just gathers round and chants ‘wanker’ at you for eight minutes straight, laughing as the tears roll down your face.
We’re not going to that conference again this year.
Those writing about cricket bandy the word ‘experience’ around until it ceases to have any meaning, but it’s easy to overlook the significant role it plays in terms of how a player performs.
Experience isn’t just a statistic. It isn’t how many games someone’s played. It’s different conditions, different environments and different situations. Player A might average 50 in county cricket, but it’s not just as simple as bunging him in the national side.
If he’s 22 and hasn’t played a Test before, he’s likely to do worse than Player B who’s 34, has 70 caps, but only averages 40 in first-class cricket.
A Mitchell Johnson quote about the Ashes explains this pretty well.
“I didn’t take in the fact that their home crowd was right behind them all the way and I wasn’t used to that feeling and obviously taking on the role as leader of the attack all got to me a little bit. I’m glad I recovered from it. It has definitely helped and is something you need to go through. It was a learning experience for me.”
For a long time, Australia’s Test side had more Test experience than England’s. As talented as the Aussies were, there was also a greater likelihood that those players would perform at their best.
What conclusions can we draw?
International experience is a valuable commodity and is not to be frittered away on players you hope will come good. Selectors should identify the players they are most certain about and stand by them.
It would be a damn sight easier for them if English domestic cricket actually clarified such issues to some degree.
You couldn’t make it up. Mitchell Johnson LITERALLY doesn’t know what a straight delivery is.
James Anderson pointed one towards the stumps and Johnson, alarmed, thought: ‘What the hell is that?’ and padded up. The umpire’s finger rose.
Johnson is probably still pondering this exotic trickery now; planning how he’ll expose James Anderson as a warlock.
Please retain your erratic kack-hander. His ingenious bowling tactic of surprising the batsman with a delivery that isn’t a full-pitched, legside wide really lends itself to our unsophisticated ‘repeat until funny’ approach to writing a website.
We have upwards of 200 “jokes” wherein Johnson grasps at the air three feet to the left of the item he was aiming for – be it a toothbrush, a door handle, a sandwich or whatever.
It would be a crime to waste these works as we fear we have not carried out sufficient repetition to cause mirth thus far.
Mitchell Johnson was allowed seven whole overs against Northamptonshire and didn’t bowl a single wide. Sure, he didn’t take any wickets, but when you’re up against batsmen like Alex Wakely and Riki Wessels, it’s bound to be tough for a bowler.
Johnson’s got a really good chance of hitting the sightscreen behind him if he bowls in the next Test. He should probably start bowling underarm quite soon.
Australia coach, Tim Nielsen, has some positive words to say about Mitchell Johnson, who’s currently trying to read this article on the bookcase four feet to the left of his monitor:
“It wasn’t like he’d lost confidence and all the things were falling apart and he was bowling 85mph and didn’t know where it was going.”
No, Tim, it was like he’d lost confidence and all the things were falling apart and he was bowling 90mph and didn’t know where it was going.
What’s your point, exactly? That each wide didn’t last as long?
Largely because they’re a bit toss. 425 ain’t good enough and England haven’t knackered out Australia’s four bowlers as much as they should have done.
Mitchell Johnson or James Anderson? Easy.
Johnson has promised a lot, but unless you love non-bouncing wides, he hasn’t really delivered. We love non-bouncing wides from ‘once in a generation’ Australian opening bowlers, so we’re suddenly a massive Mitchell Johnson fan.
When the ball swings, Ben Hilfenhaus looks a handy bowler, otherwise he’s a bit innocuous. This makes him an Australian James Anderson, only without the inswinger or the reverse outswinger, or the reverse inswinger.
He’s basically a quarter as good as Jimmy.
Peter Siddle‘s the opposite of Mitchell Johnson. Where Johnson seems to get wickets while bowling dross, Siddle bowls well and gets nowt for it. He generally acts like a dick, which is what you want from Australian cricketers, so paradoxically, we find ourself liking him.
When you’re describing an Australian spinner as ‘worthy’, you know you want pitches that offer a bit of turn.
We’ve gone easy on Mitchell Johnson in this post. We didn’t over at The Wisden Cricketer.