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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Johnson’s rise a joy to behold

I have a special reason for being delighted with the performances of Mitchell Johnson and S Sreesanth, writes Dennis Lillee.

india Updated: Oct 11, 2007 23:16 IST
Dennis Lillee
Dennis Lillee

I have a special reason for being delighted with the performances of Mitchell Johnson and S Sreesanth.

I have had a lot to do with the development of both and take great pride that the two 25-years-olds have now stepped onto the world stage. Not many would have shared my excitement in India when Johnson got Tendulkar LBW for a duck in Bangalore, or when he took five vital wickets in Vadodara. I enjoy nothing more than watching a master at work — Tendulkar in full flight.

I first spotted Johnson when I was in Brisbane as head of Pace Australia. He was only 16 but after he had sent down two balls, I turned to my assistant and said, 'Why haven't I seen him?' I concentrated on his third ball and it smashed into the wicketkeeper's gloves, shoulder high!

In 13 years of touring with Pace Australia, only Brett Lee had impressed me after his first three deliveries. That Johnson is a left-armer and bowls in excess of 140kmph makes him an exciting prospect, who deserves luck after lots of ill fortune.

Sreesanth, whom I also first came across as a teenager, has an enormous future. He bowls good out-swingers, gets his pace up around 138kmph and is an enthusiastic and aggressive bowler. He will never take a step backwards, as his little run-in with Andrew Symonds proved in Kochi. There's not been an aggressive bowler of that nature for India.

By the time India tour Australia this summer they will have a potent attack with the likes of Sreesanth, Irfan, Zaheer and RP Singh who will relish the Australian conditions.

First Published: Oct 11, 2007 23:14 IST

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