Australian speedster Mitchell Johnson has decided to skip the inaugural Big Bash League to keep himself in top shape for the busy summer that includes a Test series against number one side India.
Australia start their season with away tours to SrI Lanka and South Africa and will return home to take on New Zealand, leading to their series against India.
Johnson, currently training with the Australian team in Brisbane, said he opted out of the Twenty20 event keeping the international schedule in mind.
“At the moment I have decided not to sign with any of the Twenty20 sides,” said Johnson.
“The Perth Scorchers (a Big Bash side) approached me and at the moment I am just happy to focus on the summer coming up.
“With India coming over, they are obviously a strong side, and it might give me a chance also to go back to grade cricket if the opportunity is there. We have got a big summer coming up, Sri Lanka first, then South Africa, they are going to be big Tests for us in their home towns, and a big summer here, so that is where my main focus is.”
Johnson’s move comes against the wishes of Cricket Australia which had hoped for the presence of its top players in Big Bash.
The 29-year-old said he is looking forward to play in Sri Lanka
“We are playing Sri Lanka, I haven’t played a Test series there, we have got the T20s and one-dayers first. It is a big summer, I am just going to take it one tour at a time and I am looking forward to the challenges there.
“I haven’t played Test cricket there, I know the wickets are pretty flat and it is quite hot over there as well. They have got Kumar Sangakkara in unbelievable form, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan can go off at any time, they have got such a great side.”
Johnson is aware that it is tougher to maintain fitness with age but asserted that he has a lot to offer in the coming years.
“I am feeling pretty good at the moment,” Johnson said. “I have got plenty of years in me, I don’t know if I am reaching my peak now, but I am always working as hard as I can to be as strong as I can.
“That is why it has been a good break for me, I have been able to go back and do a bit of running, do a lot of strength work and just do different things outside of cricket. So I feel very strong at the moment.”