Playing on docile wickets bane of Indian pacers, says Mitchell Johnson

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Playing on docile wickets bane of Indian pacers, says Mitchell Johnson

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SportsCafe Desk


Mitchell Johnson believes playing predominantly on unresponsive home pitches is the reason behind the slow progress of Indian pacers. The retired Australian quick also underlined the importance of mental toughness for a fast bowler, as a speedster can never completely be niggle free.

“Over the last four years, there’s been a huge improvement in the physique of Indian fast bowlers. One of the things that lets Indian fast bowlers down is playing on docile wickets. Wickets should be like the Gabba and the WACA,” Johnson told the Cricket Australia website.

“Ishant Sharma is a good example. When he entered the scene, he was bowling at 150 km/hr. He just couldn’t keep it up because he was bowling on flat wickets day in day out. It plays with your mind and body as well. You can’t keep bending your back every day on this kind of wickets.” 

The 35-year-old left-arm speedster took 313 wickets in 73 Tests and 239 scalps in 153 ODIs.

“I can’t remember a game where I have felt totally fresh, without niggles. You always have a niggle. It’s your mental capacity that matters. It’s a long process and I am still learning”, said Johnson, who still plays in T20 Leagues. 

“Fitness has changed a lot. Earlier the running programmes were all the same and we all did the same thing. As a fast bowler one needs to be strong in the core and the glutes – doing a lot of single leg workouts is essential.

“You can’t just go to the gym and try and get very big. There’s no point if you get too big in the upper body, a fast bowler loses his flexibility. It’s all about core and lower body strength. Playing T20, what’s the point of running 5-10 kms?”

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