‘Burnt-out’ Johnson needs a month off, says mentor Mortimer

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

BRISBANE - A plumbing van driver who once saved Mitchell Johnson’s cricket career, has warned Australia that the quick is burned out, and needs at least a month off to recapture form.

Johnson’s friend and former Brisbane Norths club coach, Brett Mortimer, has offered to turn back time and give the fast bowler the keys to his plumbing supplies van if he needs a break from cricket to get away from his high-pressure life in the Australian attack.

It was the trick that worked wonders in 2003 when Johnson lost his Queensland contract and Mortimer gave him a job driving plumbing vans.

While all the quicks struggled for penetration on a flat Gabba pitch in the first Test, Johnson’s figures of 0-170 were another indication of how far he has slipped.

Mortimer, who has played a mentoring role in Johnson’s career and is one of his biggest supporters, has no doubt Australia should maintain faith with the quick in the long term.

But after seeing Johnson at the Gabba this week, the Herald Sun quoted him, as saying: “He looks so burned out I just really think he needs a month away from the game.”

He’s been playing so much cricket and everything just looks like it has got on top of him,” he added.

Mortimer blamed many of Johnson’s problems on having “hangers-on” in his ear, such as national fast-bowling coach Troy Cooley and Academy bowling coach Craig McDermott.

“There are so many hangers-on around Mitch, blokes like Truck (Cooley) and Billy (McDermott) and I think that’s half of his problem,” Mortimer said.

“The problems with Mitch’s bowling look pretty easy to fix to me. He is not getting his hip through and not getting his bowling arm high enough. He also has to have a lot more patience. Batsmen aren’t playing those big shots through cover against him any more. They are just waiting for him to bowl at their bodies or stray on to their pads so they can whip him through the on-side,” Mortimer said.(ANI)

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