Mitchell Johnson‘s new autobiography, Resilient, tells of a man who overcame serious injuries and significant self-doubts to become one of cricket’s most fearsome fast bowlers. Johnson takes readers on the rollercoaster ride that was his career. Along the way, Johnson…

…Recalls how he was plucked from obscurity by Dennis Lillee

As a kid, Johnson had been more interested in tennis than cricket, but by 17 he was rattling a few batsmen in Townsville’s club cricket. His own club, The Wanderers, paid his airfare to travel to Brisbane for a pace-bowling camp at which Dennis Lillee would be one of the coaches. It took only three balls for Lillee to identify Johnson as a “once-in-a-generation” quick; immediately and excitedly, he phoned Rod Marsh at the Academy in Adelaide. “I’ve found one,” Lillee said. Only once before had he rung Marsh with a similar comment. On that occasion the bowler had been Brett Lee.

As a rare cricketer who had not come through the age-group system, Johnson had no idea how his life was about to change: “The next day I flew back to Brisbane and caught a plane across the country to Adelaide. It was the first time I had ever been outside of Queensland.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 24:  Mitchell Johnson of Australia talks with Australian coach Mickey Arthur during an Australian training session at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 24, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

 Mitchell Johnson of Australia talks with Australian coach Mickey Arthur during an Australian training session at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 24, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)