Oz pacer Johnson admits family problems led to Ashes meltdown

Posted By: Staff

Perth (Australia), Nov. 24 (ANI): Australia's left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson has admitted to having a bitter row with his mother over his association with girlfriend Jessica Bratich, and added that this stand-off, was at the heart of his Ashes meltdown.

He also revealed that he was convinced he would be dropped as his Ashes campaign ran spectacularly off the rails after a delicate family situation escalated, with his mother, Vikki Harber, complaining publicly that she had become estranged from her son. She said his relationship with Jessica Bratich had come between them.

"I guess it started off with the personal side of things, which really probably did get to me," Johnson said yesterday. "I was probably denying it as well at the time. Copping it from the crowd probably didn't help.

"Mentally, I have learned to be a lot stronger - concentration on what I have to do out in the middle. This is what I have to do for a living, and I have just got to leave everything behind me when I'm out there," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Johnson, as saying.

Four months after his dramatic loss of form and confidence, the 28-year-old thanked Ricky Ponting and the Australian selectors for sparing him when he felt sure he would be axed.

He said he would like to again be trusted with the new red ball, having relinquished it to the less experienced Peter Siddle after spraying it all over Lord's during that awful outing at the home of cricket, where England took full advantage of his waywardness and seized a 1-0 Ashes lead.

To his immense credit, Johnson finished the Ashes strongly, with 20 wickets at 32.55. He turned the corner at Edgbaston, and yesterday expressed sincere gratitude to those who persevered with him when only a few days earlier during a tour game at Northampton, he appeared to have lost all confidence.

Johnson said: "I don't know what the selectors were thinking, I don't know what Ricky was thinking, if they were going to drop me or not. Just in my mind, I thought that was going to happen. For those guys to have that confidence in me gave me confidence as well. It made me think a lot more positively about what my role was ..." (ANI)

Story first published: Tuesday, November 24, 2009, 12:08 [IST]
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