Johnson voices his opposition to Pink ball cricket

I think pink-ball cricket changes too many things. I think you have to change the stats because it's a different kind of ball, played at night, different things happen, the wicket is different, said Johnson as he showed his opposition to day-night Test cricket.

Mitchell Johnson also praised the Mumbai franchise, saying it has fans everywhere.   -  PTI

He has retired from international cricket. But he isn't a stereotypical freelance T20 cricketer. Having returned to the Mumbai Indians after a gap of four years, Mitchell Johnson opens up about his association with the IPL franchise and his views on international cricket.

Excerpts

You have made no bones in airing your opposition to pink-ball Test cricket. What is it that doesn't work for you?

Why do you need to change it? That's my question. It's all about money. That's all it's about in the end. The countries, the associations just wanna put bums on seats. Yes, there's been a loss of attendance in Test matches but I am sure the ratings will show a lot of people – if not more – are still watching it on TV. The game is exciting enough as it is. I think pink-ball cricket changes too many things. I think you have to change the stats because it's a different kind of ball, played at night, different things happen, the wicket is different. In Adelaide, the first time around, they kept heaps of grass on the wicket, why can't you do that in a normal Test match and bring the bowlers in? There's so many things that annoy me about it. I do see why they want to do it. You might bring a few more extra people to watch it. But in Australia, when you are playing one game in each state in the summer, if they really wanna watch it, they'll come and watch it. Five-day Tests are ideal but if I had to choose between a pink-ball Test and a four-day Test, I would go with a four-day match on an exciting wicket.

Do you think with the advent of T20, all three formats of international cricket can co-exist?

I don't see any point of International T20s. Maybe a World Cup. The (T20) games are either scheduled at the start or end of a series. What they are starting to do is split the teams. I don't know whether it's a good thing or a bad thing. Are you getting the best teams? Are you getting the best players? I just think you've got to play your best players. The standard has to be good.

Are ODIs in danger of losing its relevance?

I was just talking to Mitchell McClenaghan about one-day cricket. There's so much talk about the relevance of one-day cricket. I think it's very very important because you learn so many skills playing one-day cricket. It actually goes into your Test cricket and your one-day cricket. You can't really get rid of one-day cricket. That's where I started, learnt to bowl with the new ball in all kids of conditions. But the most important skill I learnt was bowling through those middle overs – the cutters, the slower balls, change-ups, learning about conditions, having catchers in front, you learn a lot. There has always been a talk of what happens to one-day cricket, especially over the last 10 years. Even when I started, there was murmurs of how is one-day cricket. Last five years, these talks have become quite strong that what happens to Twenty20 cricket. But I think Twenty20 cricket exists only because of one-day cricket.

Were you surprised to have returned to the Mumbai Indians camp for IPL 2017?

To be honest, I didn't like Twenty20 cricket as much because you are going back from Test matches to One-dayers to a couple of T20s here and there, so I found I didn't really enjoy it as much. But I have really enjoyed it this year. Last year for the Kings XI I was pretty flat, to be honest. My interest levels were pretty low because I had just retired. I was on a high but cricket wasn't my main thing at that time. I was enjoying life. That's why I played just three games and didn't perform. Coming with a good attitude this IPL. To be honest, I was surprised that I got a contract, but it's very nice that Mumbai put their faith in me. Hopefully I have been able to give back, whether it's on the field or off the field helping out with some of the young Indian boys. That's what I love about the IPL, and especially with this team, that you are able to talk freely; help out. I have got some experience as well that i can pass on. I guess Mumbai saw that as well when they picked me.

What has changed to the Mumbai Indians of 2017 than the squad that you were a part of in 2013?

Very well-balanced side, again! I guess that's what they do well. They recruit well. Balances of the sides – they are not just batting-dominant, or bowling-dominant or fielding-dominant, so obviously they do their research. I think it's just run really well as an organisation. Pretty obvious with the owners, you would expect it to be run well. Very professional. The organisation side of things keeps getting better and better. To be honest, I didn't have too many problems when I was last here. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The main difference is probably the huge increase in the number of fans. Mumbai has fans everywhere.

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