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"Checking on the batsman not the responsibility of the bowler" - Mitchell Johnson defends Josh Hazlewood

Josh Hazlewood
Josh Hazlewood

Former Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson defended Josh Hazlewood's action in the Gabba Test. The right-arm pacer's conduct came under the scanner when he hit Cheteshwar Pujara with a bouncer on his helmet and then went on to sledge him - ''did you see that one?''

Mitchell Johnson, who was himself known for sledging and for his deadly bouncers, believes it's not the responsibility of the bowler to check on the batsman after the latter gets hit.

Speaking on the Fast and the Curious Podcast, Mitchell Johnson defended Josh Hazlewood and said:

"I’m sure the majority of the people that are watching, the fans are going to enjoy that. It’s a contest between bat and ball; no one got hurt. Look, it goes back to the Phillip Hughes incident, and it definitely affected a lot of people and changed in a lot of ways how people are checking in all the time. It was a good bouncer. But you don’t have to check on the batsman, that’s not the responsibility of the bowler."

The incident occurred on the final day of the fourth Test. Before copping a blow to the helmet from Josh Hazlewood, Cheteshwar Pujara had stopped the bowler in his strides as an insect came into his eyeline. The Australian pacer responded with a bouncer along with a stinging sledge.

Mitchell Johnson also talks about hitting Ryan McLaren

Mitchell Johnson
Mitchell Johnson

Mitchell Johnson recalled an incident when he hit South Africa's Ryan McLaren with a bouncer and was reluctant to check on the batsman initially.

“I remember hitting McLaren years ago; I hit him in the side of the helmet, It was a fair whack, and it actually drew blood out of his ear. I originally went, well I tried to bowl that ball, the bouncer if he’s not good enough to get out of the way that’s not my issue. A couple of our boys went up to see if he was okay, duty of care. On the inside, I looked at it and said I hope he’s okay I don’t want him to be hurt, but I also didn’t want to go up straight away and say are you okay, because I’m trying to bowl a bouncer to intimidate," said Mitchell Johnson

Johnson revealed that he later sent a text to Faf Du Plessis to check if McLaren was okay.

“It’s such a tough one because you're not trying to take people out of the game, but you’re also a fast bowler, and you’re allowed to bowl two an over. I actually sent Faf Du Plessis, captain at the time, a text to make sure he was okay and pass on the message and that was done,” added Mitchell Johnson.

Speaking of Josh Hazlewood, the fast bowler finished the Border Gavaskar Trophy with 17 wickets to his name, including two five-wicket hauls. However, his efforts weren't enough to stop India from winning the series 2-1.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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