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Australian pacer Johnson announces international retirement

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Perth, Nov 17 (IANS) Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson announced that he will retire from all forms of international cricket at the end of the ongoing second Test against New Zealand that concludes here on Tuesday.

Johnson, 34, the country’s fourth highest Test wicket-taker, informed his teammates of his decision Monday night, saying that after 73 Tests he felt it was the right time to walk away from the game.

“I feel now is the best time to say goodbye,” Johnson said in a Cricket Australia (CA) statement.

“I have been lucky enough to have had a wonderful career and enjoyed every moment of playing for my country. It’s been an incredible ride. But the ride has to come to an end at some point and to do so here at the WACA is very special,” the left-armer added.

“I’ve given the decision a lot of thought. Beyond this match, I’m just not sure that I can continue competing consistently at the level required to wear the Baggy Green.”

Johnson enters the final day of the Test on 311 Test wickets and sits behind only Dennis Lillee (355), Glenn McGrath (563) and Shane Warne (708) on the list of Australia’s greatest wicket-takers.

“My career has certainly had its up and downs but I can honestly say I have given it my all and am proud of everything I have achieved. To win an Ashes series and a Cricket World Cup is something I will treasure forever.

“My family have been by my side throughout and I could not have achieved all I have without their support. They have made a lot of sacrifices, especially my beautiful wife Jess who has provided me with unconditional support, and I am incredibly grateful for that.

CA Chairman David Peever paid tribute to Johnson for his outstanding Test career which began in 2007 at the Gabba and reached its peak in the summer of 2013-14 when his speed and aggression saw him claim 59 wickets in eight Tests against England and South Africa at 15.23. It led to Johnson winning his first Allan Border Medal at the age of 32.

Peever said: “Dennis Lillee was certainly right many years ago when he identified a young Mitchell Johnson as a future great of Australian cricket. In many ways the sight of Mitchell as a moustached tearaway conjured memories of Lillee at his peak, not just in appearance, but for some of the most devastating fast bowling ever produced by an Australian.

“There have been countless highlights, but no one will ever forget his incredible performance in the 2013-14 Ashes when he took that series by storm, only to repeat those efforts soon after in the history-making win over South Africa in South Africa.

“I am sure there are many batsmen around the world breathing a sigh of relief right now, knowing that they no longer have to face him.”

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