mitchell johnson

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Graeme Swann: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Swann bowling against Sri Lanka at Lord's in t...

Swann bowling against Sri Lanka at Lord’s in the second Test. Scorecard. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Graeme Swann hopes to bury Kevin Pietersen and his autobiography 20,000 leagues under the sea.

What he said:

“I expected it to be the biggest work of fiction since Jules Verne and that seems to have happened.”

Graeme Swann has little time for Kevin Pietersen and his rantings. The former England off-spinner and KP’s ex-teammate dismissed his allegations of being a bully during his tenure with the squad.

“The one thing will say. I immediately realised it was codswallop when I read the character assassination of Matt Prior. Tragically I don’t think Kev realises the one person who fought tooth and nail to keep him in the side is the one person he is now assassinating: Matt Prior.

Kevin has been quite clever because the guys still playing he has left alone and he hopes to get back in again one day. He has picked on people who he thinks can’t answer back.”

He added:

“If that was the case a lot of people would have flagged it up before. We had a magnificent team ethos and team spirit until Mitchell Johnson took his blindfold off and then it all fell apart.

It was strange to watch my team-mates this summer, all those people I’d bullied all those years. I’d have loved to have been out there giving them Chinese burns.”

Paul Downton said:

“What I do know is there’s been no formal or informal complaint about bullying.”

Matt Prior tweeted:

What Swann really meant:

“No one really expected KP’s book to be complimentary of his teammates or the then-administration. Of course, I’m surprised by the allegations. But what did I lose out on? Nothing! So I’ll keep mum and say nothing about being a bit of a bully on the field. An atmosphere of fear? Ha! Not something to complain about when I’m the one held in awe.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I’m going to be attending a seminar by Mitchell Johnson ‘Bullying and harassment on the cricket field: How to confront and overcome it’.”

Mitchell Johnson: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Mitchell Johnson

What he said:

“I’ve been trying to hit as straight as possible instead of hitting across the line. So I’m not going to apologise, but hopefully I didn’t hurt anyone up there.”

Mitchell Johnson is unapologetic for shattering the safety glass pane of the television broadcast box at the Harare Sports Club.

Johnson scored 20 in Australia’s 350-6 against Zimbabwe.

Johnson added:

“I thought it was going to hit, and I was just wondering what it was going to do.I didn’t see it shatter, I just saw some of the commentators brushing away a bit of glass, so it was a good thing it didn’t shatter everywhere and the ball didn’t go through.

I think another window up here (outside the players’ dressing room) had that shattered look to it, and I’m glad no-one got injured out of it.

But it was a good feeling.

I didn’t see the first ball that was bowled to me from the other end, I was just trying to adjust to being out in the middle again but that one felt really nice, right out of the middle.”

The other shattered window Johnson  referred to was broken by West Indian Chris Gayle in a T20 fixture several years ago.

Johnson laughed:

“I’m happy to be compared to Chris Gayle. He’s obviously a pretty powerful guy, so if you want to compare me to him that’s fine.”

What he really meant:

“I’m a straight-shooting kind of guy. I bowl straight and fast; I’d like to bat the same way too.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I’m gunning for the commentators. Would they like to step out and face a few of my lethal deliveries? If not with the bat, then with the red cherry.”

India versus England: Ishant bounces out the Pommies

Australian cricketer Mitchell Johnson fielding...

Australian cricketer Mitchell Johnson fielding during a tour match against Northamptonshire during the 2009 Ashes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ishant Sharma at Adelaide Oval

Ishant Sharma at Adelaide Oval (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ishant Sharma came to the party and how! Since he made his debut in 2008, the lanky pacer has disappointed more often than not. So much so that Indian fans came to believe that his name was not Ishant but “I shan’t”.

But on a Monday afternoon, the Delhi native bent his back with the old ball and destroyed the much-vaunted lower half of an English side in rebuild mode. Joe Root and Moeen Ali may have hoped to lead England to a much needed morale-boosting victory, especially for beleaguered skipper Alistair Cook.

But it was not to be. Once Ishant Sharma started bouncing them, it was all over bar the shouting.

Were the English recalling the pummelling they received at the hands of a venomous Mitchell Johnson in the recent Ashes series down under? Or did they feel they could pull off a Ravindra Jadeja as well? Whatever the reasons, the spectators were bemused to find a procession of English batters making their way back to the pavilion. The English plan to counter-attack merely provided catching practice for the Indian fielders.

The spectacle prompted Bob Willis to remark:

I have seen fewer hookers in Soho on a Saturday night.

India had its first win at Lords in 28 years.

The similarities between MS Dhoni and Kapil Dev keep piling up eerily.

India go into the next three Tests leading 1-0. They will hope that they can emulate Kapil’s Devils of 1986 and clinch a memorable series win. This Indian side does not look very strong on paper, lacking experience at the highest level. But most members of the squad have put their hands up and performed when needed, unlike the side of 2011.

A captain is only as good as his team and , right now, Dhoni’s boys are making him look so much better than the recent past.

Ian Chappell: What he said, really meant and definitely did not

Image of Australian cricketer Ian Chappell. Co...

Ian Chappell ‘Clubs’ Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle

What he said:

“The problem is they also bowl plenty that could be hit to the boundary by a proficient club batsman.”

Ian Chappell diagnoses the ills plaguing Australia’s pace bowlers.

Chappell wrote:

Both Johnson and Siddle bowl deliveries good enough to dismiss any Test batsman.The problem is they also bowl plenty that could be hit to the boundary by a proficient club batsman. Johnson’s problem is one of confidence. Consequently, he’s often running up to bowl half expecting something to go wrong and is fighting a battle with himself as much as the batsman down the other end.

What he really meant:

“Siddle and Johnson are quite capable of bowling balls of this century—to club players.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Five good balls in an over is good enough.”

MS Dhoni wins hearts: Team India fail second Test

Mahendra Singh Dhoni of India in action during...

Of the two sides fighting for the No.1 Test spot, only one stepped up to the plate; that side was not India.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni won hearts with his sporting act on the third day of the second nPower Test series.

His team’s performance, however, raised a lot more questions.

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IPL: Player auctions, Australian absences and Pakistani stalemate

Brian Lara batting for West Indies against Ind...

Image via Wikipedia

The IPL show moves on.

The IPL player auctions are scheduled for January 8 and 9 in Bangalore. Over 400 players will go under the hammer.

Each team has a cap of $9 million to be played with.

Only two teams have opted to retain their full complement of four players—Mumbai Indians and Chennai SuperKings. Their kitty is whittled down to $4.5 million.

The cricketers have been classified into six brackets—ranging from $20,000 to $400,000.

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Independent Reactions To English loss

“The Ashes were so close that England could touch them. But after less than an hour of play on the fourth morning of the third Test yesterday, during which time they lost five wickets and the match, it must have felt that the urn was on another planet.

Or if not quite that far away, heading towards Australia at the speed of sound. England will wonder how it could happen like this. Coming into the match they were dominant, 1-0 ahead in the series after a thumping win in Adelaide and all was well with their world.

The opening stages of the Test went exactly according to plan and form. It is usually the local breeze known as the Fremantle Doctor which influences matches at the Waca, but this tricky little blighter was absent throughout. Instead a human whirlwind, Mitchell Johnson by name, swept in and blew England away.”

Stephen Brenkley in the Independent

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A tale of two Tests: Eng vs Aus, SA vs India

Jacques Kallis at a training session at the Ad...

Image via Wikipedia

Two tests began on the 16th of December, 2010. One at Perth, the other at Centurion.

The similarities were striking. Both pitches were expected to have something for the speed demons. And they did.

For Australia, after being shot out for 268 on the first day, it looked like deja vu. The Englishmen were on top and were pressing for an unprecedented third Ashes triumph, in the process, signalling their willingness to end the Punter’s reign at the helm.

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Tendulkar’s 50th ton: An essay in patience

Sachin Tendulkar at Adelaide Oval

Image via Wikipedia

Sachin Tendulkar scores yet another century.

What’s the big deal?

Oh, it’s his 50th one. Is this the best of the lot?

Not by a long shot.

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Ashes 2010: England go one up, Ricky Ponting up against it

Ponting fielding during 2009 Ashes series

Catch the Ashes! (Image via Wikipedia)

Two Tests into the Ashes and England are up 1-0. It could very well have been 1-1 but for a stirring fight-back by Strauss, Cook and Trott in the first Test at the Gabba. At least, that’s how the optimists in the Australian camp would like to look at it.

That’s not how the realists see it. The selectors pressed the panic button in the run-up to the series when they announced a squad of 17 for the first Test. They compounded their folly by dropping Mitchell Johnson after the initial Test performance. What if the selectors had dropped Hussey from the squad? Not quite a vote of confidence in the players who have served you well in the past three years.

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