A gradual but inevitable descent into cricket-based loathing and bile.

The Three Halves Of Mitchell Johnson

Posted on April 10, 2014 by in Scorer's Notes


Way back in the mists of time, we wrote an article looking at the career of one Mitchell Guy Johnson, specifically looking at the two halves of it. Before the 2009 Ashes he was good. Since the 2009 Ashes he was bad. It was a pretty clear cut case: he was finished. Of course, like every prediction we’ve ever made, we were hopelessly wrong. After a couple more wilderness years, Mitchell finally re-discovered his mojo and began to bowl fast and, heaven forbid, accurately. In terms of unexpected finales, it’s right up there with The Sixth Sense (Bruce Willis has been dead all along), The Usual Suspects (Kevin Spacey’s character is Keyser Soze and he’s making the entire story up) and Baby’s Day Out (the baby is actually on the run from his parents because they repeatedly touch him inappropriately).

The harrowing theme of child abuse got lost a bit when they did the poster.

The harrowing themes of child abuse and dereliction of parental responsibilities got lost a bit when they did the poster.

Since his return to the Australian Test side in November, Mitch’s figures are astonishing: in eight matches he’s taken 59 wickets at 15.24. That’s a whopping 7.4 wickets per match. To put that into some sort of perspective, if he’d done that throughout his 59 match career, he’d have 435 and a bit wickets, rather than the paltry 264 that he’s currently stuck on. Plus he’d be really, really annoyed about being dropped for most of 2012 and 2013.

Even the greatest Test wicket taker of all time, Murali, only managed 6.02 wickets per match. Amongst players who weren’t chuckers, only Dennis Lillee (5.07), Dale Steyn (5.03) and Richard Hadlee (5.01) have more than five, at least of those on the first page of Cricinfo Statsguru results. There’s probably loads of players who had short Test careers but a better wickets per game average (Richard Johnson is one that springs to mind, with 5.33 wickets per Test across his three epic appearances), but we just don’t care about them, so please don’t feel you have to list them in the comments section.

Incidentally, prior to his recall, Mitch was at 4.02 wickets per game but is now at 4.47. It’s impressive stuff.

We know what you're all thinking and the answer is 2.125.

We know what you’re all wondering and the answer is 2.125.

The question of quite how Johnson has been reborn is an interesting one. There are a number of theories currently doing the rounds, some of them involving Dennis Lillee helping rebuild his run-up and action. We don’t buy that sort of technical nonsense for one second, instead preferring to go for some rumours that we read on the internet one night.

Clearly what’s happened here is that Mitchell Johnson has sold his soul to the devil in return for a second chance at Test cricket. The facial hair clearly wasn’t that of a human – no man not possessed by evil would choose to have that on his mug – so must have been the devil’s marker, a sign that Johnson was his plaything.

That and the fact that he became fucking good at the guitar overnight.

That and the fact that he became fucking amazing at the guitar overnight.

Of course, the devil being the nasty bugger that he is, he soon returned to collect his prize. What started out as just a scratch on Mitch’s toe in the third Test in South Africa suddenly turned into a foot infection. From there it  spread to his leg. His IPL millions threatened to slip through his fingers once again. But then he got some antibiotics and it cleared up.

The moral of the story is clear: if you dance with the devil, you have to pay the piper. Which actually would have made a much better tagline for Baby’s Day Out, now that you think about it.

1 Comment

Post a Comment


James Flood

12 Jun 2014 16:30

I’m still waiting for the Chinese remake of Baby’s Day Out. Granted it’d have to be a thriller instead of a comedy, but seeing how long it survived wandering the streets alone before it was exterminated would be right up there (suspense wise) with a classic episode of Beadle’s About…