Johnson rejects Morgan claim

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Published: Monday 2nd February 2015 by The News Editor

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Mitchell Johnson has told England they are “dreaming” if they think all the pressure is on Australia at the start of the World Cup.

The Ashes rivals meet in Melbourne in the tournament curtain-raiser on February 14, with the co-hosts strong favourites.

The sides met three times in the Carlton Mid Tri-Series, with Australia winning both group games before taking Sunday’s final by a massive 112-run margin.

Johnson made his first appearance of 2015 in that game and ripped out three top-order wickets in 10 balls to continue his hold over the England team.

Captain Eoin Morgan, who was bowled first ball by Johnson, gave a curious press conference after the match, studiously avoiding giving the left-armer credit.

He also suggested that the combination of home advantage and recent dominance over England meant Australia had everything to lose when the sides next meet, while his team were unburdened by expectation.

But the suggestion cut little ice with Johnson.

“I think every team is under pressure, it is a World Cup,” he said.

“I think they are dreaming if they think they are not under pressure. “Every team is going to be under pressure, you’ve got to win pretty much every game, that’s how I see it.

“There will probably be a little more pressure on us being a home World Cup but we are prepared for that. Our plan is to win every game.”

Johnson’s history with England is full of peaks and troughs.

In the 2010/11 Ashes things reached a low ebb, with his scattergun bowling mercilessly mocked by the Barmy Army, while last winter he stood tall as the man of the series, claiming 37 wickets in the 5-0 whitewash.

But he insists he took no added pleasure in downing a familiar foe at the WACA on Sunday.

“It feels nice to do it to any team, to be honest,” he said.

“When you can go out and perform at your best and do the job that you’ve been put in the team for, great.

“My job is to go out and try to bowl fast, be aggressive and take wickets. I was pretty close to that.”

Johnson’s mention of aggression leads inevitably to the subject of physical intimidation and short-pitched bowling in the aftermath of Phillip Hughes’ death.

Plenty of bouncers have been bowled around the cricketing world since Hughes was tragically killed by a ball that struck him on the back of the neck, and several helmets clattered.

Johnson is more hostile than most on the circuit and reaches speeds many seamers can only dream of, but that will not stand in the way of him doing his job at the World Cup and beyond.

“It’s probably changed a little since Phil. It probably did that to everyone – everyone was a bit funny about it at first,” he said.

“But it’s part of the game. I’m still going to bowl short balls.

“I think it is still important, a very big part of the game. I’ll continue to bowl it.

“I’m a fast bowler who likes to bowl fast.”

Published: Monday 2nd February 2015 by The News Editor

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