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'Would have joined army had Lillee not spotted me'

June 26, 2009 14:22 IST

Had legendary fast bowler Dennis Lillie not spotted him years ago at a cricket clinic in Queensland, Australian Mitchell Johnson says he would have ended up joining the army.

Johnson, who is now gearing up for the Ashes series starting in Cardiff on July 8, recalled the meeting with Lillie, describing it as a life-changing incident for him.

"If I hadn't gone to that camp I probably would have been in the army. I've had friends that have gone over to Iraq and all that, have been shot at, a friend that's a tank driver that's been over as well, so they've been in the action. It's pretty scary," said Johnson.

However, the 27-year-old does not regret his decision to take up cricket.

"I'm quite proud of where I am," he says.

"There was a little bit of luck involved in it but I wouldn't give it up for the world. I feel grateful to those guys for looking after us, they do an excellent job," said Johnson, who has bagged 94 wickets from 21 Tests.

Johnson, meanwhile, is confident of making the playing XI for Ashes.

"You've got to be aggressive as a fast bowler, especially opening the bowling for your country. It's always a good mood to set when you're bowling that first ball and you're being aggressive, or the first over of a Test match in an Ashes series, or whatever it is," Johnson told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

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