Virender Sehwag is very helpful to youngsters - Mitchell Johnson
Mitchell Johnson, who is with Kings XI Punjab this season, has said that he is very happy to be a part of a team that is unstoppable at the moment, thrashing almost all the teams that have come their way in IPL 2014. The Australian speedster also lauded his teammates’ performance after Kings XI Punjab registered another emphatic win by chasing down a total in excess of 200 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, courtesy their power-packed batting line-up.
When asked about swashbuckling Indian opener Virender Sehwag, he said: “When I joined Kings XI Punjab, I was very excited as I was looking forward to meeting Virender. He is a great guy to get along with. I have thoroughly enjoyed his company as he is incredibly funny. He is gelling well with the team and is also helping out the youngsters during training sessions. He has been communicating very well,” Johnson said after the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
On having the luxury of not bowling to Glenn Maxwell, who has given no respect to any bowler in this tournament so far, the 32-year-old said: “I wouldn’t have liked to bowl to him in the current form that he is in. I would rather sit in the dug-out. It’s incredible the manner he has been hitting in all parts of the ground.”
He added: “I remember during a (domestic) one day match at the MCG a couple of years back, he hit me for two huge sixes. I replied by hitting him on the body a couple of times.”
He also revealed that the Kings X1 captain George Bailey had communication problems with the domestic players at the start of the campaign.
Crediting him for managing to find a way out of it, he said: “Obviously, it’s great to have George as the captain of Kings XI. When he just came in, he was having a bit of a communication problem with local players purely due to the language barrier. But he has slowly got to know his players on an individual basis. He has communicated well with the senior players and has done a great job so far.”
Commenting on the tracks in India and the challenges of bowling in the IPL, “I have played over 100 ODIs and many Test matches. I have played tough ODI series in India last year. I know the importance of change-ups as the wickets are pretty flat over here. I have had a good IPL last year (Mumbai Indians) in these conditions,” Johnson said.
When asked about his new ball partner Sandeep Sharma, who has been instrumental in providing the crucial breakthroughs, he said: “Sandeep Sharma has been outstanding. He is really promising. That’s the best part about Kings XI Punjab. There is so much of positive energy in the team. Even after our loss against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), we moved on pretty quickly not thinking about the defeat too much,” Johnson answered, giving us an insight into the Kings XI dugout.
“We have a very calm coach (Bangar), who believes in collective effort. He is an excellent communicator. It is one of the best bunches to work with. The Indian senior and junior players share good rapport with international stars. The team doesn’t rely on individuals. Also personally, I have now come to personally know South African boys David Miller and Beuran Hendricks,” he said, when asked about the head coach Sanjay Bangar, who maintains a low profile in comparison to other IPL coaches.
Johnson, when queried about the chances of Kings X1 winning the maiden IPL trophy, said: “We are trying to take it game by game. Our aim is to keep things simple and stick to the basics.”