Date: November 09 2012
RISING Australian star Glenn Maxwell reckons Mitchell Johnson's international career is far from over despite slim pickings at the MCG over the past week.
On Wednesday night the Test outcast produced a menacing spell in a Ryobi Cup match for Western Australia against Victoria, in which he consistently bowled above 140km/h.
It was similar to a spell he produced late on day one of the preceding Sheffield Shield match, and was rated by Maxwell as ''the fastest spell I've ever faced, comfortably''.
In both spells Johnson, somehow, finished wicket-less. In the shield match he had a simple slips catch dropped, and in the Ryobi Cup match he had Aaron Finch and Maxwell given out leg-before for one, only for the decisions to be overturned by the video umpire due to height.
Across the two shield innings and one-day match Johnson posted 3-135 from 38 overs. While the obvious conclusion from those figures would be the 31-year-old is a long way from his best - and long odds to regain his Test berth - the left-armer thought his recent figures were misleading.
''I don't think you can read the paper and see the results and see a true result from that. I feel like I've been bowling well,'' Johnson said after the Warriors' nine-wicket loss on Wednesday.
''I am really enjoying playing shield cricket at the moment. I still feel like I need to play a few more games there to really get myself to where I want to be. I'm not far away. There's been a couple of times there during a shield game where I've started to just go away from my game plan a little bit and I've pulled myself back very quickly … where I haven't done that in the past.''
Maxwell said he and Finch had to contend with Johnson swinging the ball at pace, something he conspicuously failed to do in many of his recent Test appearances.
''It was the fastest spell I've ever faced, comfortably. It was very impressive. He had most of us jumping around and that's saying something. We're on a pretty slow, or normally slow, MCG wicket and he was getting the ball to really get through,'' Maxwell said.
''The first one I faced went a fair margin and Finchy even noticed at the other end, which is pretty surprising when a bowler is bowling that fast you actually see it swing from the other end. It's tough work and he bowled really well.''
Maxwell said fans and pundits would be wrong to think Johnson's international career was ''finished'' based on his modest bowling figures and the rise of much younger rivals.
''That's not the case at all … He bowled really well, fast and really had us on the back foot and we were just really trying to get through that spell,'' the all-rounder said.
Johnson conspicuously bowled off a longer run-up than he had before his season-ending injury last summer.
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