Ashes 2013: MitchellJohnson to go for Poms’ throats

Mitchell Johnson says he is bowling faster than he ever has, and has vowed to give Jonathan Trott and Alastair Cook a good going over with the short ball in the first Test.
Nanjing Night Net

And if the left-armer, who is set to receive an Ashes recall on Tuesday, cannot send England’s linchpins packing, then hurting them would be the second option, he said.

Trott received a sneak peek of what he can come to expect from Johnson next week in Brisbane during the one-day international series in September, when he was hit on the head by a searing bouncer and also lost his wicket to another short ball.

”I look at the England one-day series and really went hard at a few of those players, in particular Trott. I think he’s come out and said he’s not worried about the short ball, but we saw what he was like in the one-day series, he definitely didn’t like it,” Johnson said.

”There are guys in their team who we’ll definitely go after.”

Cook, the England captain, can also expect to receive some rough stuff from the fiery and rejuvenated Johnson, who has twice broken Graeme Smith’s hands and last summer shattered Kumar Sangakkara’s finger.

”If I can get a few of those rearing balls towards the ribs or those throat balls and if he gets in the way of it that’s his own fault,” Johnson said. ”You’d rather get the wicket more than anything, you get a lot of joy out of that when you get a player like that out. I [had] a look at last summer and Sangakkara was an example. I’ve busted his finger and he’s one of their best players, so they were one short and I got a couple of those in the middle order. If you can’t get them out, that’s the second option.”

Johnson could well be the fastest bowler in world cricket at the moment. During the recent limited-overs series in India, which was dominated by the batsmen, Johnson frequently broke the 150km/h mark, once reaching as high as 155km/h. The scary thing for England is Johnson was not even trying to bowl fast. Not surprisingly, batsmen are not exactly lining up to face him in the nets.

”It was something I wasn’t actually working on in my time off, I was a little bit surprised that my speeds were getting there,” he said. ”I felt like it was coming out of my hands at good pace. When you speak to some of your teammates and those you play against, they give you a good indication it’s good pace.

”I don’t think I’ve consistently hit the 150s. If I can do that and swing the ball it becomes a big weapon.”

The great Dennis Lillee has also been working closely with Johnson, encouraging him on long runs to help him build the fitness required for the longer run-up he has used since coming back last year from a career-threatening toe injury. ”When I sit back and look at it, I felt like my run-up rhythm was the best it’s ever been, I’ve lengthened my run-up since coming back from my toe injury.

”That’s made a big difference. I just feel like I’m getting better momentum through the crease and being able to hit those speeds without applying myself out of the water or forcing it, it felt pretty good.”

Johnson said he had also been used in shorter spells, which allows him to bowl at a higher intensity.

”If I was bowling eight-over spells I wouldn’t be able to bowl at that pace for a long period of time,” he said. ”Maybe I could get through a Test match doing it like I could during the week [last week] but I don’t think I could sustain it for the whole summer.”

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