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Mitch ODI


Johnson considers his future

Aussie may drop limited-overs format

Mitchell Johnson has revealed that he may need to reconsider his availability for Australia in all three forms of the game – Test, ODI and Twenty20 - in order to ensure he achieves his driving career ambition, the 2015 Ashes series in England.

Johnson, the bowling hero of Australia's resurgent summer and reigning Allan Border Medallist, was to have spearheaded Australia's failed quest for the World T20 crown in Bangladesh last month.

But an infection caused by a cut to his right big toe sustained during the final Test of the summer against South Africa in Cape Town forced his withdrawal from the biennial event in which Australia failed to progress beyond the group stage.

While he was disappointed to have missed a chance to take part in a tournament that Australia's men's team has never won, he spent his recuperation at home in Perth pondering whether his 32-year-old body can continue to withstand the rigours of all three formats of international cricket

"Probably not," was his frank response when the question was put to him by cricket.com.au, indicating he might join his captain Michael Clarke and other Test and ODI players who have opted out of playing 20-over cricket for their country.

"I think I've got to be a lot smarter now. 

"Twenty20 cricket you don't play a lot of anyway, it just happened at this time there was a World Cup straight after the South Africa series which I was looking forward to being involved in before I got injured.

"Twenty20, I will quite happily say, is not my favourite format – I would rather play Test cricket.

"And maybe one-day (50-over international) cricket I have to look at as well."

While indicating that 50-over cricket might also jeopardise his capacity to continue performing at his best at Test level, Johnson confirmed he was hopeful of making the Australian squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup to be played in Australia and New Zealand next February and March.

Even though he was a member of the Australian squad that won the quadrennial event for the third consecutive time in the West Indies in 2007, he did not play a game throughout that tournament and laughingly refers to his contribution as a permanent drinks waiter.

"I'd like to win a World Cup - I've been involved in the West Indies in 2007 which was a well-paid holiday apparently," he said smiling broadly.

"And while it was tough work, the campaign we went through, it was a good place to be and a great experience.

"So I would love to be a part of Australia's 2015 World Cup and I certainly think we've got the team to win it.

"We've played some really good one-day cricket and given that it's being played at home, it would be a great opportunity."

"But my main goal now is to get to that 2015 Ashes series in England, so I'll be doing everything I can to reach that goal."

In the wake of his triumphant summer against England and South Africa, Johnson acknowledges the physical stress that limited overs cricket places on his body and the huge demands it places on his time, especially now that he and wife Jessica have an 18-month-old daughter Rubika.

But at the same time he is reluctant to completely walk away from the white-ball game given that it was his return to the Australian one-day line-up during last winter's ODI series in England that provided the springboard to his recall to the national Test XI.

And prior to that series, he rediscovered his form and passion for the game during his stint with the Mumbai Indians in the 2013 Indian Premier League where he collected 24 wickets on low, flat pitches at an impressive average of 19.12.

It's one of the key reasons why – with no formal international playing commitments for most of the Australian winter – he is looking forward to returning to the IPL, this time for the Kings XI Punjab franchise which paid $1.4 million for him at the recent player auction. 

"I've had confidence with the white ball and been pretty consistent in the limited-overs format," Johnson said of his fondness for the shorter forms of the game.

"You can get the white ball to swing, but really it's just good to get out there and enjoy some cricket which is how I see the IPL – it's really just a form of entertainment.

"The first IPL I played (last year) with a really good team at Mumbai and played with Sachin (Tendulkar) which was really exciting.

"He's a guy that I had grown up watching and to have the opportunity to play with him is something not many people get.

"One of the other things I got out of it was to play with different cultures – we had a couple of West Indians (Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Smith), a couple of New Zealanders (Jacob Oram and James Franklin) and obviously the Indian guys, as well Australians such as Glenn Maxwell and Nathan Coulter-Nile.

"So you can get a bit of an understanding how other teams and other players go about it.

"And all in all, the IPL is just unbelievable. 

"Guys who had played there before and like Shane (Watson) and Davey Warner had told me about how exciting it was that and that it was heaps of fun.

"It is a bit of a circus, the crowds are massive and get right behind it and it's just so full on.

"People ask me what's India like, and I say they make you feel like a rock star because they just cheer for you non-stop.

"You come back to the hotel after a game, and in the lobby there's just people everywhere screaming and yelling. 

"It's quite amazing when they’re chanting for you, and I can remember going down to fine leg between overs and they're standing and cheering my name.

"That certainly doesn't happen very often when you're playing overseas."

About the Writer

 @ARamseyCricket
@ARamseyCricket

Andrew Ramsey is the senior writer for cricket.com.au. He previously wrote for the Guardian, The Australian, The Times, The Telegraph, The Hindu and Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack and the author of The Wrong Line.

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