Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson announces retirement


Dubai: Mitchell Johnson retired from international cricket at the conclusion of Tuesday’s second Test against New Zealand at the WACA in Perth.

Announcing his decision before the start of the final day’s play, Johnson said in a statement that he was no longer sure he could continue competing consistently at the level required to wear the Baggy Green.

“I feel now is the best time to say goodbye,” said Johnson. “I have been lucky enough to have had a wonderful career and enjoyed every moment of playing for my country. It’s been an incredible ride.

“But the ride has to come to an end at some point and to do so here at the WACA is very special. I’ve given the decision a lot of thought. Beyond this match, I’m just not sure that I can continue competing consistently at the level required to wear the Baggy Green.”

Johnson retires as Australia’s fourth-highest Test wicket-taker (311), only behind Shane Warne (708), Glenn McGrath (563) and Dennis Lillee (355).

He featured in two successful World Cup campaigns, playing an integral role in this year’s win over New Zealand in the final — taking 15 wickets in eight matches at 21.75, while being a squad member of the victorious 2007 side in the Caribbean.

A native of Townsville in Queensland, Johnson made his Test debut in 2007, in a two-match series against Sri Lanka. At his best, Johnson’s deliveries, his sharp bouncers in particular, proved all but unplayable for batsmen.

His career reached its peak in the summer of 2013-14 when his speed and aggression saw him claim 59 wickets in eight Tests against England (in the Ashes) and South Africa at 15.23. He was the key figure in Australia’s 5-0 Ashes sweep in 2013-14, claiming 37 wickets across the five Tests. It led to Johnson winning his first Allan Border Medal at the age of 32, but his returns have trailed off gradually since then.

Last month, Johnson had said that he had weighed up retirement after Australia’s last Ashes series which they lost 2-3, where he had taken 15 wickets at an average of 34.93.