Mitch ado about nothing

Mitchell Johnson, dropped from the Australian team at Adelaide and banished to the nets, said today in an interview after his explosive bowling on the second day of the Perth Test, in which he has so far taken 6-38: “I got to work on a few things”.

What those things are was not immediately obvious. Nothing about his action seems to have changed, particularly: still the same low, slingy left arm; his head still flopping over like a rag doll’s when the ball is released.

The only obvious difference seems to have been between the ears.

Mitchell’s always been a lippy bastard. Quiet off the field, he has plenty to say on it. He and various members of the England team have exchanged a few verbals in this match, and not for the first time.

The difference here is that he let the ball do the talking as well.

On a wicket offering him extra pace and bounce he found swing too, using it to lethal effect in removing Cook, Trott, Pietersen and Collingwood for a total of 7 runs before lunch. The balls that accounted for those last three were late inswingers that were nigh on unplayable.

How often have you watched a fearsomely talented quick self-destruct in spectacular fashion? Steve Harmison is perhaps the other bowler of recent times who most readily springs to mind.

Confidence is everything with these men. Consistency too, with Johnson in particular veering dramatically between lethal blitzkrieg and damp, wayward squib.

Cricket Australia had begun to lose patience with the rapidly diminishing returns Johnson was giving them, after all that time spent nurturing him in the Petri dish of its Academy, and after all of those second chances.

When Johnson bowls this well he is worth taking a chance on.

After all the howling invective and demands that he be dropped at Adelaide, those criticisms levelled at him now seem academic. It was probably less a case of “working on a few things” than it was simply having a break. Over-coaching is one of the most insidious destroyers of a young bowler’s form and confidence there is.

Johnson bowled like Jesus today. Next time, he may just as easily bowl like garbage.

Perhaps Australia’s selectors should just accept that.

One Response to “Mitch ado about nothing”

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