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Big Bash Cricket League : Mitchell Johnson not playing

674   //    12 Jul 2011, 20:54 IST

Johnson decided to keep himself fit for the upcoming winter and spring

Australia pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson has taken a bold step by deciding not to be part of the Big Bash League in an attempt to severe his preparation and keep himself fit for the upcoming winter and the spring series. Australia is set to take on New Zealand and India at home followed by Sri Lanka and South Africa respectively next year.

“At the moment I’ve decided not to sign with any of the Twenty20 sides,” Johnson told reporters in Brisbane at Australia’s training camp. “The Scorchers approached me and at the moment I’m just happy to focus on the summer coming up.

“With India coming over, they’re obviously a strong side, and it might give me a chance also to go back to grade cricket if the opportunity’s there. We’ve got a big summer coming up, Sri Lanka first, then South Africa, they’re going to be big Tests for us in their home towns, and a big summer here, so that’s where my main focus is.”

“I’m just going to take it one step at a time,” Johnson said of the upcoming season. “We’re playing Sri Lanka, I haven’t played a Test series there, we’ve got the T20s and one-dayers first. It’s a big summer, I’m just going to take it one tour at a time and I’m looking forward to the challenges in Sri Lanka.

“I haven’t played Test cricket there, I know the wickets are pretty flat and it’s quite hot over there as well. They’ve got Kumar Sangakkara in unbelievable form, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan can go off at any time, they’ve got such a great side.”

After deciding to cold stare the offer Perth Scorchers, 29-year old said he was wary of the amount of cricket ahead of him.

“I’m feeling pretty good at the moment,” Johnson said. “I’ve got plenty of years in me, I don’t know if I’m reaching my peak now, but I’m always working as hard as I can to be as strong as I can and as fit as I can.

“That’s why it’s been a good break for me, I’ve been able to go back and do a bit of running, do a lot of strength work and just do different things outside of cricket. So I feel very strong at the moment.”

The mercurial pacemen who has sporadically lived the hype built around him and on whom rests the entire Australian line up at least for another couple of years, decided to concentrate on playing for Australia. Not long before was he reluctant to play the cash-rich Indian Premier League that triggered a series of club vs. country debates recently.

This would have come as welcome news just after Neil D’costa raised concerns over the growing preference for the T20s that could potentially kill Test cricket in Australia.

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