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Express bowler Mitchell Johnson holds his fire

Mitchell Johnson.
Mitchell Johnson. Contributed

THIS appears to be the season for cricket autobiographies.

Former Australian skipper Michael Clarke, national coach Darren Lehmann and retired international opener Chris Rogers are just three who have put their thoughts in a book.

Another is former fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, whose new book Resilient is out now.

But while others, including Clarke and Lehmann, have "thrown people under the bus” so to speak, Johnson said he was quite clear in his mind that he did not want to dig too deep.

In the book, Johnson recalls the Homeworkgate saga, where he and three other Test players - Usman Khawaja, James Pattinson and Shane Watson - were told they would not be considered for the third Test in Mohali, India, because they had not written down things that could have been done better in the first two defeats on the tour.

But unlike others he just told his side of the story and left a lot to the readers' imagination.

"The Homeworkgate was one thing and I think it was an important thing to write about,” Johnson said about the passage.

"But I didn't go too far with it. I was honest with my recollection of it - what I saw and what I felt.

"I said in the book I lost respect for Mickey (Arthur) at that stage but I also say that I was pushing for him to be Australian coach.

"That's not me to nail guys just to get my point across. I don't think there's any value in really digging deep and going after people.

"There was a lot of talk with the Michael Clarke stuff as well, I say how the environment was toxic at that stage as well.

"I probably could have gone deeper into that kind of stuff. I also said that Clarke was the best captain tactically on the field that I played under. You have got to make it a little bit interesting but you don't have to tell all the secrets of the inner sanctum.

"I think, I hope, I got the balance right.”

I think Johnson got it right.

He had some help putting his words in print but what we have is a book which lets us know the real Mitchell Johnson.

With some chapters, including the first one when we "join” Johnson at the Gabba before the first Test of the 2013-14 Ashes series, in flashback, you feel like you are along for the ride.

"It's ghost written by Peter Lalor (cricket writer for The Australian),” Johnson said. "I am just a dumb fast bowler. I don't know how to write these things.

"It's (the first chapter) just a really good way to start it. It gives a really good insight into how I was feeling and what I was going through at that time and I think that gets you into the book right away.

"I definitely enjoyed reading it because I am not a reader. That's the second book I have read in my lifetime.

"It's really like me, how I am and how I speak. I think it's really captured the person that I am.”

Johnson's professional cricket career definitely had its ups and downs and the book takes you through those.

"It wasn't too hard,” Johnson said of putting his life story in print.

"It was more of the family stuff that I found difficult - how much do I put in there?

"I want to put enough in there but I don't want to put everything in there.

"I am very private with my personal life, that was the most difficult part, but all the Barmy Army stuff and down moments, I think that's really important in the book and that's why it's called Resilient, because I was able to come back from those moments and do it a couple of times.”

Resilient is published by ABC Books, RRP $49.99, and is out now.

Topics:  cricket memoir michael clarke mitchell johnson



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