‘Johnson burdened by ‘leader of the pack’ tag’

Last Updated: Nov 17, 2010, 19:32 PM IST

Sydney: Out of form pacer Mitchell Johnson, who has long been considered as Australia`s main attack bowler in Tests, has been burdened with the "leader of the pack" tag, which is behind his inconsistence performance, according to former coach John Buchanan.

Johnson has hit a worrying form slump before the Ashes series, struggling to maintain line and length at times in India and more so upon his return to Australia for the three-match one-day series against Sri Lanka.

Buchanan, who brought Johnson through the international ranks, said that he should no longer be considered the leader of Australia`s pace attack.

He said the left-armer would perform best when left to concentrate on his own game, rather than being relied upon to turn tides in the way skipper Ricky Ponting used Glenn McGrath.

"Even though he says he enjoys the role and would like to take on the role, his best cricket is played when he can simply run in and deliver and play," The Sydney Morning herald quoted Buchanan, as saying.

"It is a hard thing to define, if you use Glenn McGrath as the example - he was the person that always enjoyed the role of being seen as the elder statesman, the skilled deliverer of plans and the execution that helped lead to outcomes," he said.

"While everybody wants to embrace that and wants to be that, it is not an easy role to carry. McGrath was built to handle that because of consistency no matter what situation or format, how he was feeling. He could be relied upon to stand up all the time," he said.

"The fast bowlers in the 17-man squad] can all be leader of the pace attack for Australia, in a sense of someone just standing up and taking wickets. The other part of the leadership role is taking on the mantle of a person to who Ricky will go to at any particular stage of the game," Buchanan said.

ANI