Johnson mindful of Ashes pitfalls
Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson is determined to get his mental preparation for the Ashes right after his miserable time in England last year.
Johnson, 29 next week, has previously admitted he was mentally distracted during the 2009 Ashes series, saying he built it up too much in his head, and subsequently failed to find his best form as England won their second consecutive series on home soil.
On top of the expectation he placed on himself, Johnson was also the subject of intense media scrutiny over his private life, after stories in magazines hinted at a rift between partner Jessica Bratich and his mother.
Johnson was nowhere near the force he had been over the previous 12 months and, although he finished the series with 20 wickets at 32.55 apiece, his lack of control meant skipper Ricky Ponting was often reluctant to hand his strike bowler the ball.
However, heading into a new Ashes series, and a chance of redemption against the old enemy, Johnson is determined not to make the same mistakes twice.
“Over there I definitely built it up in my mind,” he admitted. “It was a huge deal for me, like any young guy coming through.
“But I think I’ve learned that lesson now and I’ve experienced that and now I’ve adjusted to the pressures of, I guess, being a leader of the attack as well.
“So I’m looking forward to this series; it's something I'm very excited about.”
Mentally fresh and raring to go, Johnson revealed that Australian minds are focused firmly on the Ashes, despite the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka which precedes it.
“We want to win, that's for sure,” he declared. “We want to win the series and we’re in our backyard now; we've got the wickets that we enjoy.
“There's been a lot of talk already - that build-up started pretty early on - so we're all ready and keen to go.”
Having moved from Queensland to Western Australian at the start of 2008, Johnson is yet to play a match for the Warriors due to his international commitments.
But the left-arm seamer, along with Australia batsmen Mike Hussey and Marcus North, will all be on hand for their state as they take on South Australia in a Sheffield Shield game in Adelaide starting on Friday.
Having been part of Australia’s side during the recent 2-0 Test series defeat in India, Johnson knows the importance of adjusting to conditions at home.
“We just came back from India where the wickets are pretty docile over there,” Johnson said. “Just training this morning, the wickets are bouncing through, so you’ve got to adjust your lengths over here again.
“I think it's pretty important that I'm having this game and to be able to work on a few things during that game, and hopefully get into a good rhythm and build myself up for the Ashes.”