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'I'd be hated by every Australian!': Johnson

Ex-Test quick is at the WACA ahead of the third Test and reveals details of a proposed prank for Aussie superstar David Warner

Mitchell Johnson famously destroyed England four years ago but it was the injury he inflicted on one of his former teammates the summer prior that was the catalyst for a proposed prank by Darren Lehmann at the WACA Ground in Perth earlier this week.

Back in January 2013, Johnson was bowling to David Warner in the WACA nets, long regarded as perhaps the fastest, most challenging pitches anywhere in Australia – among both practice and centre wickets.


The lethal left-armer pinged Warner on the left thumb, fracturing the digit on the eve of Australia's tour of India.

The story of course ends happily – Warner has smashed 17 Test hundreds since then to become one of the world's preeminent batsmen – but Australia's dynamic opener has had ongoing issues with the thumb, which he fractured again in England in September 2015.

According to Johnson, Lehmann – Australia's head coach and an occasional prankster – and a few of the current squad decided to have a bit of fun with their vice-captain, by raising the prospect of Johnson returning to the lively WACA nets at a training session ahead of the third Magellan Ashes Test.

Johnson joins Aussies for Ashes net session

"The boys had wound him up over the last couple of days, and 'Boof' (Lehmann) had wound him up, saying I was going to come down and have a bowl," Johnson told cricket.com.au with a grin.

"I was in the changeroom with the boys, and up on the whiteboard they had my name up there in Davey Warner's net.

"And Boof said, 'Mitch are you right to go for 48 balls?' I said, 'Yeah, yeah, no worries'."

Johnson however, suspects there was a leak.

"Davey had his head down and he didn't look up, he didn't flinch," he said. "So I don't think he bought it, I think some of the boys had said to him, 'Don't worry mate – he's not coming in'.

"Because I have done damage to him in these nets before – I think I've broken his thumb and hit him in the ribs.

"They're pretty nasty nets."

Aussie players love watching Warner

While the prank ultimately fell through, Johnson said the prospect of actually bowling to Warner – one of Australian cricket's most valuable players – on the middle of a Test series was fraught with danger.

"It wouldn't have been good if I went in there and hurt him," he said, adding with a laugh: "I think I'd be hated by every Australian! And then the Barmy Army would actually be my friends, and I don't want that."

Johnson, who retired from international cricket in 2015 but was a somewhat surprising star of BBL|06, is back this summer for more KFC Big Bash action with defending champions Perth Scorchers, who begin their campaign on December 23 against the Sixers in Sydney.

Johnson's triple-strike stuns Stars

2017-18 International Fixtures

Magellan Ashes Series

Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird.

England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.

First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard

Second Test Australia won by 120 runs (Day-Night). Scorecard

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21