Johnson really struggled against England in the recently concluded ODI series
Australian pace bowler Mitchell Johnson has revealed that the taunts he got from the crowds during the Ashes, when England defeated Australia successively, really hit home and dented his on-field confidence.
However, when Australia played in an ODI series against England last month, Johnson insisted that he was no longer scarred by the verbal taunts.
The England crowds chants during the 2010 to 2011 Ashes series proved to be too much for Johnson to handle, and his bowling suffered as a result of it.
Johnson recalls repeatedly hearing the chants of: “He bowls to the left, he bowls to the right, that Mitchell Johnson, his bowling is shite.”
Looking back at those memories, Johnson said: “I think back then I let it affect me a lot, it’s hard not to when that’s all you can hear in the cricket ground — your name being sung, and the songs are very catchy. I was at that point in my career where I was letting things get to me – it was not necessarily just the crowd, it was everything.”
However, Johnson insists he has got over the taunts and has learnt to deal with them now.
“I’ve learned to deal with it and I look at it as a reflection of my performances — they are threatened by me a little. I’ve had some pretty good performances against England in the past,” Johnson said.
With Johnson playing against England at the Oval where he took no wickets, it was the first time the pace bowler had played international cricket in seven months, following a toe injury he picked up in a series against South Africa.
“I just wasn’t sure where I was going, if I hadn’t got the injury and let’s just say I got picked on the next trip — because there was concern that I wasn’t going to get picked — I don’t think anything would have changed in my performances. I don’t think I would have retired but I definitely would have stepped away from it a little bit. Before my injury I wasn’t confident and didn’t believe in myself,” he added.
When England had already taken a 3-0 series lead against Australia with one ODI left to play, Australia coach Mickey Arthur gave his team a stern talk about showing more intensity.
“Like Mickey said the other day, we just need to have fire in our bellies and show that belief and go out and do a job, we have one more chance to show England and ourselves we’re good enough – and I believe we are good enough,” Johnson said.
Johnson also believes that Australia could learn a thing or two from England batsmen like Alastair Cook and Ian Bell.
“It’s about belief and confidence in yourself, and that’s something I’ve gained being away from cricket because I was in a period before my injury where I wasn’t confident. Look at the England side and look at Ian Bell, the amount of confidence he shows out on the paddock, from what it was two years ago; Alastair Cook as well. We can learn from the English in a way,” Johnson said.