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Australia paceman Johnson still remembers English taunts

MELBOURNE: Australia pace bowler Mitchell Johnson has test series against Pakistan and India ahead but is already looking beyond them to next year’s Ashes tour and the prospect of renewing hostilities with England while silencing the Barmy Army.

Left-armer Johnson suffered the most public of meltdowns during the Lord’s test in 2009, when he was carted for 200 runs in a notoriously wayward spell and English fans never let him forget it.

He hushed his critics emphatically with a brilliant Ashes series in the last Australian summer, but memories of his special treatment in England have never faded.

“It’s something that I will look back at throughout the rest of my career, because it’s made me who I am today,” Johnson told News Ltd.

“It’s made me the player that I am today, made me the person I am.”

“As hard as it was at the time, I’ve learned a hell of a lot from it. It’s got me into a position where I have that belief and confidence in myself now. I know why things are working.

“It’s always something that’ll be there but it’s in the back of the mind.”

Channelling former Australia paceman and mentor Denis Lillee with a moustache and staring down English batsmen, Johnson also enjoyed firing up the travelling Barmy Army supporters in Australia as his wicket tally grew.

Barmy Banter

“That little bit of banter that happens with the Barmy Army, that’s all in good fun,” he said.

“They appreciate good cricket and they try and take you off your game. Something that I learned when I was copping it from them was how to deal with that stuff.

“I’ve been through it, experienced it and I know what to expect now.”

Lillee was credited for bringing out a mean streak in Johnson and propelling him back to the best form of his career but the bowler said he had not had much contact with his mentor, who quit his Cricket Australia coaching consultancy role earlier this year amid reports of a pay dispute.

“I’ve spoken to him briefly, but at the moment when everything’s in order I’m pretty happy,” Johnson said.

“He sort of joked about it, (saying) ‘you’re now your own master, you don’t need me’, but I was like, ‘no, that’s ridiculous, you’ll always be there’ and I’ll always need him at certain times.

“It’s just good to be able to ring up and have a chat, it doesn’t have to necessarily be about cricket. He’s always been a big supporter and always will be, and he’s always going to be there.”

Australia play Pakistan in a two-test series in the United Arab Emirates next month following a one-off T20 international and a one-day series against the same opponents. – Reuters

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