Australian fast-bowler and Spartan ambassador Mitchell Johnson has officially announced his retirement from international cricket, saying now is the best time for him to leave the game. The left arm quick is currently playing in the second Test match at the WACA Ground in Perth, where Australia is hosting New Zealand.

Mitchell previously suggested he had pondered retiring alongside Michael Clarke, Ryan Harris, Chris Rogers, Brad Haddin and Shane Watson, who all bowed out in August after England regained the Ashes.

Although he was injury free and in peak physical condition, the mental grind of touring and playing Test cricket for Australia had clouded his future in the team. He said his decision to continue playing on after the Ashes campaign came from his desire to train with the younger faces coming into the Australian squad, declaring he was still enjoying his cricket.

Two days out from the second Test in his adopted hometown of Perth, Mitchell revealed that he thinks about retirement “most days” and hinted that the upcoming Test match would be his last.

Undoubetedly the highlight of Mitchell’s career was his blistering form during the 2013-14 Ashes series when he took 37 wickets in five matches.

After making his debut for Australia in an ODI match against New Zealand in 2005, Mitchell has become one of Australia’s premier fast bowlers. Now a 34 year old veteran of the Australian attack, only Ryan Harris (retired at 35 years of age) and Glenn McGrath (retired at 37 years of a age) have played on longer as a fast-bowler for Australia. In 2014, he cemented his status as one of the legends of the game when he was recognised as the ICC Cricketer of the Year, having previously been awarded the same honour in 2009.

On day three of the second Test, Mitchell became the fourth highest wicket-taker for Australia in Test cricket, surpassing Brett Lee in claiming his 311th wicket to sit behind Dennis Lillee, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.

Before play this morning, Mitchell ended speculation when he officially announced his retirement after 72 Tests, 153 one-day internationals and 30 T20 appearances for Australia. “I feel now is the best time to say goodbye. I have been lucky enough to have had a wonderful career and enjoyed every moment of playing for my country. It’s been an incredible ride,” he said.

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Mitchell is a highly admired member of the Spartan family and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours.

Check out Mitchell’s stats here.

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