Australian cricket fans have spent the past couple of years scratching their heads when it comes to the hit-and-miss bowling of spearhead Mitchell Johnson, but the paceman claims he is actually in good form. Johnson, who turns 30 next month, is confident he can get back to his

prolific best on the upcoming Test tour of South Africa, attributing his

meagre returns in the recent series against Sri Lanka to bad luck.

Johnson claimed just six wickets at 52.17 over three Tests in Australia’s 1-0 series win in Sri Lanka last month.


poor statistics contributed to his axing from Australia’s Twenty20 team

for the upcoming Test, one-day and Twenty20 tour of South Africa, which

starts later this month.

With fellow speedsters Ryan Harris,

Trent Copeland and Peter Siddle all pushing to cement spots in the Test

team, and Doug Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus also keen to get back into

the fray, Johnson acknowledged competition for places is hot.


the left-arm paceman, who has taken 187 wickets over 45 Tests at an

average of 30.43, felt comfortable with his current rhythm and pace,

predicting he would get more reward for his efforts on the seam-friendly

pitches of South Africa.

“I actually felt I bowled pretty well,

pretty consistent over in Sri Lanka,” Johnson said on Thursday at

Western Australia’s season launch.

“Obviously I didn’t get the wickets. That’s what the selectors want to see – wickets and runs.

“But for me I felt like I bowled pretty well, pretty consistent. My pace was up. So it’s just getting those wickets on board.

“There’s always been pressure to perform and there’s always guys there pushing the envelope to get the spot to be in the team.


you try not to think about it too much and just go out there and try to

perform the best you can, and hopefully that’s good enough.”

Johnson has fond memories of South Africa after starring in Australia’s 2-1 tour success in 2009, when he bagged 16 wickets at an average of 25 and scored his maiden

Test century in a Herculean effort that highlighted his worth to the


Former South Africa and current WA coach Mickey Arthur said he was surprised at the recent criticism levelled at Johnson.


Johnson is a spearhead, he’s your match-winner, and your strike bowler

is going to be a little bit erratic at times,” Arthur said.

“That’s what you live with, but you balance your attack around that.

“Mitchell is a proven match-winner and he’ll do it time and time again for Australia in the future.


been training really well with us. Technically he looks in a really

good place at the moment, so I’m expecting a big series from him (in

South Africa).”