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I’m now officially on Michell Johson mental frailty watch.  He seems unsure if he is the exploding type or the quiet little pussy cat, as reported in this article from 2009.

Your team had relationship counselling before this summer’s tour. What’s happened to Aussie machismo? “[laughs] It definitely helps me to speak to someone sometimes, whatever it’s about. I generally bottle things up until I’m about to explode.”

Surely a good trait for a fast bowler?   “Nah, I’m not a very aggressive person. I smile at the batsmen a lot. I’m not right in your face, I try to let my bowling do the talking.”

Well he had lost it well before the shoulder barge in this footage.  I can see how it would be difficult to smile at Scott Styris, but Mitch was certainly doing the talking in standard style, and was as ‘in your face’ as it is possible to get to a man wearing a helmet!  Unbottling your emotions to a man who looks like a miffed toad is probably never a good idea,  Styris by this time was so engrossed with it all apparently he didn’t notice he had hit a six.  New Zealand went on to win the match – their second win in a row, Australia’s first losses since the Ashes.

For a lot of spectators fast bowlers are meant to be a certain way .  Some players see themselves as aggressive, but most don’t seem to.   It’s not something you see much at county level, not with Durham anyway.

But gamesmanship is often obvious at international level.  So Mitch; a case of gives it out but can’t take it, or one where he genuinely gets caught up in it all and is going to have to be more careful?  He has been in spats before, he has escaped a ban this time.  I have always thought cricket is full of displays of machismo – that’s why I like cricketers like Stephen Harmison, he has never bothered with it.

I am more suspicious of the likes of Tate, Steyn and Broad who I suspect are more cynically tactical?  So Mitch what’s the story – I’m waiting for the next chapter.

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6 Comments

  1. You mean you don’t think it’s very clever to head-butt a guy wearing a helmet and carrying a cricket bat?

  2. Is it a head-butt – or does he just walk into the brim of the helmet. [I only saw the start of the match – wrong time zone for the later stages, so missed the build up to it.]

    Styris looks like a serious mother most of the time, so he is definitely in the would use the bat without too much provocation category. Although Scott can be refreshingly twinkly eyed at others – I like that Jekyll and Hyde.

    Mitch needs to sort himself out, if he is going to be Mr aggressive it would be better if he was a bit more controlled about it.

  3. Here it is.

    A head butt; but not a big one

  4. Its rare for me to like Australian cricketers, particularly non-Victorians, but Johnson is one of them. He has generally looked like he would just rather get on with the game and is known to smile on field, which was verboten for former players. This mild demeanour has predictably been relentessly criticised in the media as unmacho and it seems that pathetic media attitude is getting to him. I generally like to watch the Aust team confronted by a good sledger. They cannot handle it and completely lose their composure, eg Paul Nixon, Harbajhan. The Aust media has also been crying about the NZ fans cruelly victimising some of the team. This is the most upsetting incident since the Indian crowd abused Symonds which didnt stop him from returning for an IPL payout.

  5. I’ve always liked Johnson, but now realise that I have not seen him play much. TV comes into it’s own when showing the emotions on display in the middle. Recently I have started using internet streaming, but before that the cricket I have seen, has either been live or on the radio, so I don’t really have much of an idea of who sledges and who does not.

    The overall impression I have of the Aussies is that they like to dish it out but can’t take it. Now that they are not the top team – interesting times ahead.

  6. If anyone dares to sledge the Australians we will know about it because it will be all over the media that someone spoke against the team. The poor victims on the team will be identified and they will make sure they get the captain’s reaction because he is some expert on the subject. The sledger’s history will be dissected and micro-analysed and he will be branded a trouble maker for the rest of the series, like Benn in the recent WI tour. Every time they play India, Harbajhan will be under the spotlight as a threat to the spirit of the game. Standard practice now.


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