Nottingham, Aug 4:
Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson said on Tuesday he is enjoying the choral jousting he endures from the English crowd, adding that a couple of his antics in the recent third Test were planned to further infuriate the fans.
Johnson, who became the fifth Australian bowler to reach 300 Test wickets in the match, enjoys a love-hate relationship with English crowds who target him relentlessly, reports cricket.com.au.
England won the third Test at Edgbaston cricket ground by eight wickets to claim a 2-1 lead in the five-match series. The fourth game begins here on Thursday.
The 33-year-old admitted on Tuesday that he views being singled out as Australia’s villain as a compliment and added that he’s been encouraged by teammates to play up to the crowd because it helps to diffuse the spectator spotlight being shone upon them.
“I get amongst it a bit more now. I definitely take it as a bit of a compliment now and when the whole crowd is cheering my name at the end of a game when they (England) have just won, you have to take that as a compliment,” Johnson said.
“It’s a pretty special crowd, they were really loud there (at Edgbaston) and I expected that from past experiences, they really do get vocal and they really enjoy their cricket. A couple of boys (his Australia teammates) reminded me out there to get involved again because they wanted a bit more (crowd) noise towards me.”
“I definitely feel like I can take the brunt of it and I take the focus away from the other guys, and I’ve really embraced that role,” added Johnson.
However, the left-arm quick believes the chants and jeers should only be limited to the ground and not when he is out on the street with his family.
“I’m all for it when it’s in a game, but I think when you’re walking with your family in the street I think it’s a bit overboard,” he said.
“People are pretty passionate about their cricket and when they (their team) are doing well, so I guess you’ve got to understand it from that point of view. But I’d prefer that it (stays) out in the middle, that the crowd are right behind their team and giving it to me on the field. I think that’s fair game.” (IANS)