April 21, 2018

Lehmann, Smith wanted Johnson to play on in ODIs

Mitchell Johnson

Australia coach Darren Lehmann says he and captain Steve Smith both wanted Mitchell Johnson to play on, at least in one-dayers, but were unable to convince the fiery fast bowler to reconsider retirement.

Renowned for his express pace, ferocious bounce and capacity to intimidate, the 34-year-old announced last week he was calling it quits from all forms of international cricket, saying he had lost the hunger.

Lehmann said he and Smith, well aware of Australia’s inexperienced pace stocks, wanted Johnson to extend his international career but he was not interested.

“His mind was made up as soon as he spoke to Steven and myself,” Lehmann was cited as saying by Australian Associated Press Tuesday.
“He’d been thinking about it for a while, been talking about it in the media.

“We spoke to him about maybe playing the one-dayers, we think that was a really good option for us to have that experience there.

“But he’s not into it. He’s not into the training anymore. He’s had enough and he just wants to sit at home and watch us play.”

In announcing his retirement after the second Test against New Zealand in Perth, Johnson said he had been contemplating it for around 12 months.

His exit has resulted in a major shake-up of Australia’s pace attack ahead of the historic day-night third Test in Adelaide starting Friday.

Mitchell Starc is the only quick guaranteed a spot in the team with Josh Hazlewood, Peter Siddle and James Pattinson all in the mix to partner him.

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