Matthew Hayden inspired Mitchell Johnson to work harder

He also praised the current crop of Indian fast bowlers.

Matthew Hayden of Australia congratulates Mitchell Johnson
Matthew Hayden of Australia congratulates Mitchell Johnson. (Photo by Simon Cross/Getty Images)

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There have been a lot of inspirational stories of how some advice or some people have inspired cricketers to work in a better way and thus played a crucial part in improving their game. Here’s another such story where the former Australian left-handed batsman inspired fast bowler Mitchell Johnson in the early days of his career. During the initial phase of his career with the Australian Test side, the speedster revealed how Matthew Hayden’s hard work and his words inspired him to keep up with his game.

It was in Queensland where they were practising and despite humid and taxing conditions Haydos put in the extra effort to polish his game, he finished the nets session and then had another go with the bowling machine darting in the ball.

At a promotional event on Wednesday, Mitchell Johnson said, “I remember Matthew Hayden, when I was playing for Queensland. We were in the net session for three hours. It was humid like Mumbai. (After the net session), I was stretching and I watched Hayden walk to the end (of) nets, which had a bowling machine, and hitting ball after ball.”

“It made me think ‘what is he (Hayden) doing. We just had a massive training session, (so) why is he hitting more balls.’ That did not make sense to me, (but) after some time it clicked that he plays for Australia. And I found out that he was doing extra running and extra training session as well.

“That really opened my eyes and made me think, (if) I wanna (want to) play for Australia, you are going to do that extra stuff,” recalled Johnson.

Johnson troubled the best batsmen in the business with his pace and aggression; he experienced both the peaks and downward fall in his career. During the 2013-14 season, he was at the top of his game taking 59 wickets at 15.23 in eight Tests which saw him win the first Allan BordMedal. But it was a downhill journey after 2010-2011 Ashes campaign where he was also troubled by injuries. He ended his Test career with a haul of 313 wickets from 73 matches.

Johnson gave the entire credit to the former Australian legend stating Hayden was one of those people who served as ‘eye opener’ in his career. He also spoke about the present state of Indian bowlers and how it has been changing over years.

“I have noticed an improvement in physique of (Indian) fast bowlers in the last 2-4 years. It is unbelievable. The elite ones have amazing physique and they look good. It actually works because they are doing the right thing.”