With one day remaining for the first Ashes Test to begin, former Australian fast-bowler Mitchell Johnson has an advice for Mitchell Starc. In an opinion written for The Telegraph, the former left-arm bowler said the 27-year old must back himself up and not get frustrated on the field. “He is a down-to-earth and a relaxed sort of guy, until he steps over the line, and sometimes when he was young he would get frustrated when things weren’t working out, like in the first half of the Ashes series in England in 2015,” Johnson said.
The 36-year old further said that Starc should not be afraid to concede a few runs by bowling full-length deliveries with the new ball. He added that the left-arm seamer should bowl bouncers to force batsman further inside their crease. “With the new ball up front at the Gabba I expect he will go full, and for that reason he could go for runs. But I like the fact that he will bowl full because he then has more of a chance of taking wickets – especially if he bowls a few bouncers first to push the England batsmen back and set them up, before the fuller ball that follows,” the Aussie said.
Johnson further added that Starc should continue to bowl around the wicket in his second spell as the angle makes it tricky for the batsman lower down the order. “I expect him to stay round the wicket even to England’s lefthanded tailenders like Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson, to intimidate them and knock their poles out,” he said.
On how to target captain Alistair Cook, Johnson said all Australian pacers should him bowl full-length as the left-handed batsman does not come out of the crease before driving the ball. Against Alastair Cook I expect all the Australian fast bowlers to bowl full at him and get him driving because he does not get far forward to drive.
Johnson’s words came a day after Aussie spinner Nathan Lyon said Johnson had “ended careers” of English batsman the last England had visited Australia. “I didn’t end any careers. Mitchell Johnson ended them. If you ask him he’ll say it was quite satisfying if you look at his past, the pressures the English put him under with the Barmy Army and everything,” the right-arm bowler told cricket.com.au.
The first Test between Australia and England at Gabba in Brisbane will start from Thursday.