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Mitchell Johnson announces retirement

WACA Test against New Zealand to be left-arm paceman’s final international appearance

Mitchell Johnson announces retirement - Cricket News
Johnson won his first Allan Border Medal at the age of 32, but his returns have trailed off gradually since then.
Mitchell Johnson will retire from international cricket at the conclusion of Tuesday's (November 17) 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.

"My career has certainly had its up and downs but I can honestly say I have given it my all and am proud of everything I have achieved. To win an Ashes series and a World Cup is something I will treasure forever."

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.

He had match figures of 4 for 163 in Australia's first Test win over New Zealand at the Gabba. However, in Perth, Johnson finished with relatively poor figures of 1 for 128 in New Zealand's first-innings tally of 624.

“My family have been by my side throughout and I could not have achieved all I have without their support," said Johnson. "They have made a lot of sacrifices, especially my beautiful wife Jess who has provided me with unconditional support, and I am incredibly grateful for that.

“They say the greatest thing about playing sport is the friends you make along the way and I have been fortunate enough to play and work with some incredible people and have cemented lifelong friendships.

“I would certainly like to thank the people of Australia, and all those around the world, who have supported me. The encouragement I have received has been extremely humbling and playing in front of them is certainly something I will miss.”

David Peever, the Cricket Australia chairman, paid tribute to Johnson for his outstanding Test career. “Dennis Lillee was certainly right many years ago when he identified a young Mitchell Johnson as a future great of Australian cricket," said Peever.

“In many ways, the sight of Mitchell as a moustached tearaway conjured memories of Lillee at his peak, not just in appearance, but for some of the most devastating fast bowling ever produced by an Australian.

“There have been countless highlights, but no one will ever forget his incredible performance in the 2013-14 Ashes when he took that series by storm, only to repeat those efforts soon after in the history-making win over South Africa in South Africa. 

“I am sure there are many batsmen around the world breathing a sigh of relief right now, knowing that they no longer have to face him.

“He leaves the game as one of our all-time great bowlers and as an excellent example to young Australians about what they can achieve through hard work and dedication to their chosen craft.

“We thank Mitchell for his outstanding service to the game and wish him, wife Jessica and daughter Rubika the very best for life beyond cricket.”