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Mitchell swings it at Lillee's camp

Saugata Mukhopadhyay & Urvashi Sibal | June 29, 2007, 5:16 PM IST

Chennai: A surprising sight in Chennai - an Aussie shirt at an Indian training ground. It belongs to a man rated highly Down Under. Mitchell Johnson is among the crop of emerging fast bowlers expected to bear the burden of maintaining Australia's supremacy, and to hone his skills in the pre-season, Johnson is training under the keen eye of another Aussie - the legendary Dennis Lillie.

"I have had a little bit to do with Dennis, he has been really good with me, been really good with a lot of young bowlers around the country. So, it's really good to work closely with him and hopefully I'll get more opportunities in the future," Johnson says on his mentor.

Johnson is already called the "little pigeon"; inspired by the great Glenn Mcgrath. India have already had the taste of his fiery pace; a spell in Kuala Lumpur last year where he uprooted the Indian top order, remains fresh in memory.

But since then, Johnson has had to wait for his chance, watching from the sidelines as Australia won the Ashes and the World Cup.

"Well, I got to be around the guys during the Ashes and then the World Cup, so I had a great experience. I really enjoyed my time there, and, hopefully, benefit out of that by being around those guys and learning from them and hopefully this summer, play a few more games," Johnson adds.

Just like his more pedigreed Australian colleagues, Johnson too has been besieged by eager fans in India. And among the goals for the 25-year-old is to master the craft of bowling in unhelpful conditions, such as the ones in the sub-continent.

"To come over here to work on different conditions, it's a lot hotter and humid out here and the wickets are a lot different. So we have got an opportunity to work on a few things with our bowling. So hopefully it's going to happen," the left-armer fast bowler says.

Johnson is yet to make his Test debut but in the 18 one-dayers he's played so far, the talent has been all too visible. Expect to hear more of him in the days to come.

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