Ashes troubles are behind me, says Johnson

Australian quick Mitchell Johnson has insisted the mental problems that plagued him during last year’s Ashes in England will not come back to haunt him in the return series starting next month.

Johnson admitted being overawed by the “huge deal” of the 2009 Tests, when he failed to live up to his growing reputation and was distracted by a reported row between his mother and his partner, Jessica Bratich.

“Over there I definitely built it up … it was a huge deal for me, like any young guy coming through,” he said. “I think I’ve learnt that lesson now, I’ve experienced that and now I’ve adjusted to the pressures of, I guess, being a leader of the attack as well.

“I’m looking forward to this series, it’s something I’m very excited about.”

Johnson (28) took 20 wickets at an average 32,6 runs apiece during Australia’s defeat in England, a far cry from his 33-scalp heroics in South Africa just a few months earlier.

He later said he was partly affected by “personal” issues. Media reports at the time said Johnson’s mother, Vikki Harber, had accused Bratich of wrecking her relationship with her son.

Fiery series
Johnson, who has bounced back to become the fulcrum of Australia’s attack, also tipped a fiery series as England bid to win their first Ashes away from home in more than 20 years.

“Definitely, it will be pushed to the boiling point,” he said on Tuesday. “It’s an Ashes series and there’s a lot of guys in that side that don’t mind speaking. But I guess there’s a few in our side as well.

“It’s definitely going to be a fiery series. It’s just [about] keeping your emotions in check and knowing how far you can go.

“We want to do the best we can with our skills … we want to beat them with our skills and win the series.”

Johnson briefly lost his cool this year when he aimed a headbutt at New Zealand’s Scott Styris during a one-day game. The Ashes series starts in Brisbane on November 25. — Sapa-AFP

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