Lehmann hails Johnson's legacy


Australia coach Darren Lehmann believes Mitchell Johnson leaves a game-changing legacy upon his retirement from international cricket.

Johnson brought his international career to a close by taking two wickets in the second Test between Australia and New Zealand at the WACA, which ended in a draw on Tuesday.

The seamer competed in 73 Test matches, 153 one-day internationals and 30 Twenty20s for his country.

Lehmann feels the 34-year-old's ability helped move the game forward, highlighting his performance in the 2013-14 Ashes series - in which he took 37 wickets - as a defining moment.

"Mitchell Johnson changed the game for Australia, and probably the way the game is played elsewhere with his performances over the past few years," Lehmann wrote in his cricket.com.au column.

"We all remember the exhilarating speed and aggression he showed two summers ago when we won back the Ashes, and I genuinely believe he altered the way in which batsmen faced up to pure, hostile fast bowling. 

"It was a joy for me to watch him fulfil his full potential as player, having seen him develop from an obviously talented youngster in State cricket and always knowing he had very special qualities about him.

"The fact that he has gone on to play 73 Tests and surpass Brett Lee to become Australia's fourth-highest wicket-taker in Test matches is a credit to Mitch and to his family, and it's not just his game-changing fast bowling that made him a rare talent in world cricket.

"He should be extremely proud of what he has given to the game and so many fans in Australia and around the world, and he leaves cricket in great shape and an exciting place."

Lehmann backed Mitchell Starc, who took six wickets in the first Test with New Zealand earlier this month, to take on a leading role in Johnson's absence.

"Mitch's departure means somebody else will have to stand up to fill those boots, and I think we saw signs of that in the first innings of this Test when Mitch Starc bowled one of the sorts of spells that we've recently associated with Mitchell Johnson," he continued.

"That was a changing of the guard to some extent. That's a really positive sign for Australian cricket and we're confident that Mitchell Starc will fill that role for quite some time."