Getting personal with Mitch Johnson – His experience on the Australian cricket team and life after retirement

How do you think the Aussies will go in the world cup and Ashes this year?
I think they will go well in both World Cup and Ashes. I say this because I feel that the selectors are starting to pick players in form with some shield games behind them. I also think that the talent is still very strong, just needs the right mix of youth and experience to work.

Who do you think is a talent to watch in Aussie cricket?
Jhye Richardson is someone I’ve enjoyed watching closely. He has really come along way in the last 12 months and if he can keep learning and improving at this rate he will have a successful career

Tell us the story behind your famous handlebar moustache. Do you think it scared fellow players?
Hahaha the Mo…I’m still not sure if it was scary or just silly looking! Movember is where it started and then it just continued on from there as my teammates wouldn’t allow me to shave it, some sort of good luck charm apparently!

We hear that you were a pretty good tennis player back in the day – what made you switch to Cricket?
I loved tennis but started to lose a bit of love for it and then an opportunity came about to go to a fast bowling camp where the great DK Lillie was coaching and that started my career in cricket really. Right place, right time and I still feel very lucky to this day for that chance.

Who did you look up to in the early days of your career?
DK Lillie was someone I looked up to my whole career but there are heaps of guys, Andy Bichel, Michael Kasprowich, Matthew Hayden, Andrew Symonds, Joey Dawes, the list goes on.

Who was your favourite player to bowl to?
Brian Lara in a practice match. I will never forget that day!

Do you have any tips for young people who want to get into a career in professional sports?
Be prepared to work hard, that means doing the extra work people don’t see and making a lot of sacrifices. I’d also say enjoy each moment like it was your last match.

Who was the player you’d least like bowling to?
No one really. I always enjoyed the challenge of playing with the best of the best. AB de Villiers was the best I played against though.

What was the most challenging point in your international career & how did you overcome it?
Doubting myself and my ability was always hard for me. I overcome this by making sure I was always prepared and focusing on my mindset. I’d remind myself of all the hours of training and hard work it took to get here. After that I just tried to get out there any enjoy the game without putting any pressure on myself.

Now that you’ve retired from Cricket, aside from going to the gym – what else do you do to keep fit?
Not a lot really…I really focus on eating well and getting to the gym regularly to stay fit. Getting the balance right it really important not that I’ve retired. For me that’s having a beer or two when I feel like it or eating a dirty big meat pie one in a while haha. Chasing the kids around definitely keeps me fit too!

Has health and fitness always been a focus for you?
Not early in my career but as I went on and understood what my body and mind needed to perform at my best, it became a focus for me. I really understand the value of looking after my body now.

What are you Fit For in 2019?
The happy me.

How do you balance being a Dad and still fitting your exercise in?
PLANNING! I put all my workouts for the week in my calendar and plan the rest of my week around it. It also helps that I have a very understanding wife that knows me very well. Jess knows I need some exercise a few times a week to keep sane haha but I do take my kids with me occasionally which is a lot of fun.

A lot of men your age are extremely busy at this point in their lives. What advice would you give them to be able to stay fit and healthy?
Good question, I think sometimes we’re a bit hard on ourselves when we are really busy. If it’s too hard to get time for a run or gym then maybe look into eating a little better. I guess for me its been part of my life for so long now that I will always find time if it’s early in the morning for half an hour or at the end of the day. It’s trying to find what works for you individually and what fits into your day to day or family routines etc.

What’s your favourite music to train to?
I listen to some heavy metal on the hard lifting days or some rap music, some old school 2Pac always gets me in the right mind set.

Do you have any pets? 
It’s like a zoo at our house, 2 dogs, 3 cats, a couple of fish tanks too! Never a dull moment.

What’s your favourite cheat meal?
Pizza is my go to, top it off with a tub of ice cream!

What’s your favourite movie of all time?
Tough one, maybe Top Gun or Old School. I hate answering these asI always change my mind haha.

Favourite place you’ve ever travelled with cricket and why?
I will give you a few answers to this one.

  • UK – the bus driver Popeye (GoGoodwins) driving around the UK was great fun.
  • South Africa – CapeTown is a great place with Table Mountain as a backdrop to Newlands cricket ground and so much to do with wineries and cool local bars with live music playing.
  • India – The food is awesome, love the spices and such an interesting place to see and explore.
  • New Zealand – Good food and beautiful scenery.
  • Sri Lanka –  The people are friendly and I love the little side shows going on in places like ColumboAll the places I’ve seen have been experiences you never forget and I’m lucky to have traveled to places with Cricket that I’d never even thought of going.