Mitchell Johnson, the Australian fast bowler, decided to retire from all forms of cricket, on Saturday (August 19).
Last month, Johnson had also announced that he would retire from the franchise-based Big Bash League. The pacer had played a vital role in helping Perth Scorchers lift the BBL title in the 2016-17 season by taking 13 scalps at 15.46.
Johnson, who played six games for Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2018 IPL, noted that niggling back injuries had played a part in his decision to hang up his boots. "It is over. I've bowled my final ball. Taken my final wicket. Today I announce my retirement from all forms of cricket," Johnson was quoted as saying by PerthNow. "I had hoped to continue playing in various Twenty20 competitions around the world until perhaps the middle of next year. But the fact is my body is starting to shut down. During this year's Indian Premier League tournament I had a few back problems and that was probably a sign that it was time to move on.
"If I can't play at 100 per cent then I can't give my best to the team. And for me it's always been about the team. I'd like to thank the Scorchers for the last two fantastic summers and the WACA for everything my adopted cricket home has done for me over the past decade. Christina Matthews and the team there have always bent over backwards to help me out. A huge thank you to the fans as well. I will never forget the atmosphere at the WACA Ground or the smiling faces of the kids. My competitive urge hasn't left me and hopefully, that's something I can use to channel into a coaching or mentoring role in the future. I'm a believer in sticking to your strengths and cricket is my strength," he added.
Johnson, who made his international debut against New Zealand in Christchurch in 2005, ended up with 590 international wickets. He snared 313 Test wickets at an average of 28.40. The high point of his Test career came in the 2013-14 Ashes when he bowled with pace and venom to snare a staggering 37 wickets at just 13.97. He also gave a good account of himself in the subsequent Test series versus South Africa, picking up 22 wickets at 17.36. He played his final Test match against New Zealand in Perth during the 2015-16 season.
The fiery pacer played a key role in powering his country to their fifth World Cup triumph in 2015, bagging 15 wickets at 21.73. Johnson was also a handy batsman down the order, evidenced by his Test hundred against South Africa in Cape Town. Johnson also played for various T20 teams across the globe - Mumbai Indians, Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab and Scorchers - and snared 123 scalps at 25.78 in the format. He also won the ICC Cricketer of the Year Award twice.
Johnson made his first-class debut for Queensland against the touring New Zealanders during the 2001-02 season. His breakthrough season in first-class cricket came in 2005-06 when he snared 29 wickets at just over 25. In July 2008, he switched over from Queensland to Western Australia.
"Now it's all over, the stand-out memories include the 2013/14 Ashes summer, the South African tours - including my only Test century in Cape Town in 2009 - and the World Cups. I saw more highs and lows than most cricketers and I'm proud that I was able to fight back from adversity in the latter part of my career and produce consistent performances. I made mistakes and I learnt from them. Slipping a long way down the pecking order as I battled a serious toe injury didn't deter me. I'd already lost my Queensland contract as a youngster and I knew what it felt like.
"I also knew that I could make it back. It wasn't that I thought I could. I knew that I could play for Australia again if I worked hard and really wanted it. At my best, I felt like I was meant to be out there and I didn't have to force anything. It just happened. My manager recently reminded me I had won the ICC Cricketer of the Year twice. But more than the games, the trophies and achievements, I remember my close mates and miss the camaraderie.
"Achieving things with your closest friends makes it even more thrilling."I was fortunate to play alongside some of the all-time greats of the game. When I sit back and reflect I don't ever want to lose those memories. We all lead separate lives once we retire but I'm determined to keep catching up for a beer. Especially with the fast bowlers such as Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle. And you can throw in Nathan Lyon. I'll always be a proud Queenslander but WA is home now," he observed.