Let Mitch Johnson grow up
Mitchell Johnson is having a bad month at the office. It happens to all of us, even Australian representative cricketers.
But when the rest of us let the side down at work, we usually can’t get away with blaming our mum.
Kim Hughes and Shane Warne have both said Johnson’s woeful bowling figures of 8 for 331 in the first two Ashes Tests are partly because of his upset over the embarrassing public spat between his mum Vikki Harber and his fiance Jessica Bratich. Oh please.
Johnson is 27 years old - the area behind his ears should be as dry as the Simpson Desert by now.
He has a job most Australian men would happily give up their life savings for, and he gets paid a lot of money for the honour.
He’s been nurtured by the best Australian cricketing has to offer since he was spotted by Dennis Lillee 10 years ago.
And, as we keep reading, he has a hot girlfriend who’s stuck by him despite the best efforts of his mother to split them up.
Johnson’s relationship with his mother has been pored over here at home, and gleefully mocked in the British press. It’s clearly a complicated arrangement and Bratich might be wondering what she’s let herself in for.
But I’m more worried about people making excuses for his form slump.
Hughes said: “I found it incredibly surprising that his mum said what she did. Mitchell Johnson is a pretty sensitive young man and now it looks like he is totally devoid of self-confidence… This is a young lad who is now battling some pretty serious off-field issues.”
Either there are “issues” we don’t know about or Hughes thinks your mum not liking your girlfriend is “pretty serious.”
Warne, who’s got form on the “it was mum’s fault” defence at least encouraged Mitchell to get over it and focus on the stumps.
“He’s had some pretty big distractions and I’m sure it’s affected him a fair bit, but you have to deal with it before a Test match and you simply cannot be consumed by it during a Test,” Warne said.
Warne’s dead right on the last point. Johnson is old enough, and experienced enough, to put the distraction of his possessive mother aside and start bowling like he means it.
The problem is, as long as older, wiser heads than his are blaming his mum for our Ashes slump, he can continue to think it’s a big enough deal to make him take his eye off the ball.
Those around him need to let him grow up before he turns 30.
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