By David Gray
PERTH (Reuters) – Australia pace bowler Mitchell Johnson will retire from all international cricket at the conclusion of the second test against New Zealand later on Tuesday, Cricket Australia said.
The 34-year-old, 2009 and 2014 International Cricket Council (ICC) Player of the Year, is fourth on the all-time list of test wicket takers for Australia with 311.
Johnson was the most devastating fast bowler of his era when in form and fired Australia to a 5-0 Ashes sweep over England in 2013-14 as well as helping the hosts to a fifth World Cup triumph in the 50-over format earlier this year.
As well as the highs, however, there were also long fallow periods for the left-armer when he became a figure of fun among the fans of England.
“I feel now is the best time to say goodbye,” Johnson said in a Cricket Australia news release.
“I have been lucky enough to have had a wonderful career and enjoyed every moment of playing for my country. It’s been an incredible ride.
“My career has certainly had its up and downs but I can honestly say I have given it my all and am proud of everything I have achieved. To win an Ashes Series and a World Cup is something I will treasure forever.”
Born and raised in Queensland, Johnson ended up playing his state cricket for Western Australia and so it is appropriate he will play his 73rd and final test match at the WACA.
Returns of 3-105 and 1-58 in the first test against New Zealand in Brisbane last week prompted Johnson to say he thought about retiring every day.
Figures of 1-157 in New Zealand’s first innings in the second test, the most expensive by an Australian bowler in a test at the WACA, sealed the deal and he made his announcement ahead of day five of the match.
“I’ve given the decision a lot of thought,” he said. “Beyond this match, I’m just not sure that I can continue competing consistently at the level required to wear the Baggy Green.
“I would certainly like to thank the people of Australia, and all those around the world, who have supported me. The encouragement I have received has been extremely humbling and playing in front of them is certainly something I will miss.”
The one wicket he took in New Zealand’s first innings was his 311th, putting him behind only Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Dennis Lillee in the list of Australian test wicket-takers.
He also took 239 wickets in 153 one-day internationals at the cost of 25.26 apiece and 38 in 30 Twenty20 internationals.
(Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Greg Stutchbury)