Mitchell Johnson has confirmed that he will skip the upcoming edition of the Big Bash League (BBL), in which he was supposed to represent the Perth Scorchers, who are the reigning champions, in order to relax and spend time with his family.
The left-arm seamer announced his retirement from international cricket last month and there was mounting speculation that he would feature in the tournament for the first time.
“[It] is a real shame because I think everyone in Australia was hoping he’d play,” Scorchers coach Justin Langer told radio station 6PR on Thursday. “And I really respect where he’s at. He retired for a reason and he won’t be playing.”
Johnson’s decision not to play in the BBL is a big blow for the Scorchers as they are already set to be without Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh and Nathan Coulter-Nile as all four of them have been included in the Test squad for the upcoming home series against the West Indies.
“We would have been delighted to have a player of Mitch’s quality involved,”Anthony Everard, who is the head of the BBL, told cricket.com.au. “We’re disappointed that he won’t be involved this year, however the quality of players we have this season is the best we’ve ever had, both in terms of domestic players and overseas players.
“To have guys like Brad Haddin and Shane Watson playing for the first time in a meaningful way is fantastic. And then there’s the internationals, the likes of [Kevin] Pietersen, [Chris] Gayle, [Kumar] Sangakkara, [Jacques] Kallis – I could go on. The quality is the best we’ve had in four seasons so there’s still a lot of look forward to for fans.”
The Scorchers will kick off their campaign on home soil against the Adelaide Strikers on December 21.