Cricket

Mitchell Johnson calls time on international career after losing the hunger

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Moments after leaving the field for the final time, Mitchell Johnson looked back on his storied international career and declared: "I feel like I've done enough".

The 34-year-old fast bowler announced his retirement on day five of the drawn second Test against New Zealand and bowed out with two wickets, taking his tally to 313 - fourth on Australia's all-time list behind Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Dennis Lillee.

He also lies third among left-arm seamers to have played the game, trailing only Wasim Akram and Chaminda Vaas.

His last two victims, Tom Latham and Martin Guptill, succumbed to the kind of short, rising deliveries that became Johnson's primary weapon but he admitted at close of play that he had started to lose the predatory edge that made him such a fierce competitor.

And it was that which persuaded him to bring the curtain down after 73 Tests, 153 one-day internationals and 30 T20s for his country.

"I feel like I've done enough out there," he told ABC after being chaired from the pitch in Perth by his team-mates.

"I gave it my all. That's all I've ever done in my career... I'm quite proud of it.

"I've been thinking about it for probably a year. It has been up and down for me.

"I think to be honest I felt it a little bit in (the first Test at) Brisbane and a little bit in England (this summer).

"Those tougher days are normally the ones I've loved and they really challenged me but I just didn't enjoy it.

"Here at the WACA I felt the same thing, I just didn't enjoy the challenge of those tough days. I just lost the hunger.

"I thought it was time."

Johnson, who has been mocked and feared at various stages of his vascilating story, was happy with the timing of his decision but admits that would not have been the case had his time come a couple of years earlier.

A broken toe in 2011 threatened to be the end of his time at the elite level, and he was even left out of the 2013 Ashes tour to England - opponents against whom he had endured his darkest days.

But he roared back with a career-defining return series that winter, taking 37 wickets at 13.97 in a 5-0 whitewash before taking similar form to South Africa.

In March this year he played a key role in Australia's World Cup win, the final major instalment on his CV.

"I had hit a pretty low period in my career... if I'd just walked away I'd have had regrets," he said.

"Coming back from that was probably one of the best moments of my career, proving to a lot of people, including myself, I had that inner strength.

"I was able to enjoy an Ashes series win in Australia, probably one of the happiest moments of my career.

"I'm really glad I did that."

Australia coach Darren Lehmann penned a tribute on the cricket.com.au website revealing a recent nickname Johnson's efforts had earned him.

"Today we farewelled a genuine champion, a bloke that we've come to call 'Caviar' after the nation's most famous and most successful thoroughbred," wrote Lehmann.

"Mitchell Johnson changed the game for Australia, and probably the way the game is played elsewhere with his performances over the past few years.

"He will be sorely missed in our dressing room."

Kevin Pietersen, who enjoyed many duels with Johnson and faced him at his peak in the 2013/14 series, took to social media to pay his own tribute.

Addressing Johnson's status as the number one target for England fan's abuse, Pietersen said: "I know he was the pantomime villain for the Barmy Army but he's got to take a lot of respect for that and know if they come after you it's for a very, very, very good reason.

"What a competitor, a unique cricketer. Australian cricket will definitely miss you, the world of cricket will miss you."

New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor is pleased to know Johnson will not now be in duty in the first day/night Test at Adelaide, added: "I'm sure lot of batters around world and certainly in our dressing room who will sleep a little bit easier knowing he's not going to be playing international cricket again."

Australia captain Steven Smith was pleased Johnson had time to sign off with a pair of trademark dismissals.

"It was nice to see him take a couple of wickets a the end with a few nasty short ones, he's done that so well through his career so it's nice for him to finish on that note."

"He's a great guy, we're really proud."

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