What the use of Mitchell Johnson’s head as a toilet brush says about the Australia cricket team

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It’s increasingly fashionable for captains and coaches to talk about building culture within their team – shared values and working together and all that crap.

Mitchell Johnson’s autobiography, Resilient, features a colourful anecdote from his time at the Cricket Academy in Adelaide which sheds light on every aspect of the culture that underpins Australia sides.

“Every night we’d pile into the common room and watch Neighbours before dinner. I was always a bit willing as every time there was an ad break there would be an all-in wrestle on the floor until the show started again.

“In one wrestle I was dragged through the door and into the bathroom by a heap of guys and somebody pushed my head into the toilet. I wasn’t impressed and the red mist descended. Somehow I managed to break free and I grabbed whoever it was by the front of the shirt as I got up and someone grabbed mine.

“I raised my right fist and he did the same. Then we looked at each other. It was Watto.”

Hopefully the red mist isn’t the product of a very severe urinary tract infection in this story.

Assuming it isn’t, what we’re left with is: watching Neighbours, wrestling like children who’ve spent too long cooped up indoors and faecal peril.

And afterwards all you’re left with is Shane Watson’s fat face staring back at you as he threatens to hurt you, but doesn’t.


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  1. So what does it say about the Australian cricket team? Apart from that it has a strangely metrosexual thuggishness about it that we’ve known for a while now.

    At least Ben Stokes makes no pretence at being metrosexual.

    1. I think it says something about the effect on young men of watching Neighbours, particularly in the ‘Holly Valance/early Toadfish‘ era.

      Clearly, too much exposure to Harold Bishop makes young men want to wrestle.

      1. A friend at yooni (formerly Battersea Polytechnic) told me that he went on a tour of the Neighbours set led by Ian Smith (Harold Bishop) and someone asked ‘Harold’ why he was so fat… you can guess the rest; suffice it to say, I was somewhat disappointed when, years later, I heard the same quote relating to an infamous Glenn McGrath/Eddo Brandes sledging incident.

  2. I am not sure if that’s real or fabricated. It’s terrible either way for different reasons. Ugh.

  3. “. . . always a bit willing,” sounds an odd thing to say. You’re either willing or not willing. Always willing OR generally half-arsed about it.

    1. I think you are hanging on Mitch’s every word a little too much there, Edwardian.

      We’re not talking about Bill Clinton arguing his metaphorical way out of a metaphorical hole.

      We’re not talking about Stephen Hawking’s attempt at a word perfect explanation of the birth of the universe.

      We’re not talking about Station 43: Audley End House And Soe’s Polish Section by Ian Valentine.

      We’re talking about Mitchell “He bowls to the left…, He bowls to the rightttttttt,
      That Mitchell Johnson, His bowling is shite!” Johnson’s ghosted autobiography.

      He was always a bit willing, Edwardian, in his terms…go with the flow.

  4. I gave up reading cricket (and generally sporting) autobiographies years ago as they do seem to aim themselves squarely at the 13 year old, hero worshiping young total fan, who still has dreams of all in wrestles during Neighbours (and occasionally perhaps scoring a hundred at Lords etc). Athers’ was very good and i’m sure there are one or two others out there but largely they are so facile it’s almost like they are written by people who have spent their lives out of a classroom and not in… Hang on…

    With that in mind who’d be a ghost writer – it must be soul destroying dumbing your normally limitless prose down to reflect the true ‘nature’ etc of the player in question. Pays the bills perhaps but i would imagine is not where the writer dreamed of ending up!

    Not sure what i’m adding to the comments and piece above – sort of lost my thread half way through and now have written to much to stop.

    Stop it.

    1. I liked your post, if that cheers you up.

      I think a lot of people who become ghost writers are drawn into it by the coolness of the name.

      When the vampire writer gets invented, maybe they’ll all go and do that instead.

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