Fatherhood appears to agree with Mitchell Johnson.
In his first Test match since the birth of his daughter Rubika Anne, Johnson was yesterday named man of the match in Australia’s demolition of Sri Lanka in Melbourne.
The WA fast bowler took six wickets in the match, hit an unbeaten 92 and his second-innings thunderbolt broke the finger of Sri Lanka's best batsman, Kumar Sangakkara — ending his tour.
Becoming a parent can be a stressful time, but Johnson and wife Jessica Bratich-Johnson could not be happier.
The couple have taken a liking to parenthood and say they are both "completely in love" with their new bub, who they named after Bratich-Johnson's grandmother Ruby.
"I just look at her and think, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe I made that'," Bratich-Johnson told The Weekend West.
"She's just beautiful — I'm just looking at her and the faces she makes and it's a bit surreal."
Bratich-Johnson said once Rubika was born, Johnson quickly became a doting dad and, whenever at home, was more than happy to lend a helping hand.
"He's just so into being a dad," she said. "When he's home, he's really helpful and he just loves it. You can just see it in how he looks at her."
The former karate champion turned handbag designer gave birth by caesarean on December 5, close to two weeks earlier than expected.
Last week proved particularly hectic for the 30-year-old, who was forced to rush Rubika to hospital after she fell sick, though she has since been released and is back home resting.
"She's OK now. I've just got to keep an eye on her and make sure she's gaining the right amount of weight," she said.
Though Johnson was unable to spend his first Christmas as a new dad in Perth, Bratich-Johnson's parents enjoyed celebrating the festivities with their first grandchild.
Unsure when Johnson would be back home, Bratich-Johnson said she understood he had to abide by his cricket commitments.
"He's just got back in the team and it's a matter of where he's got to take his opportunities at the moment," she said.
Injury and form issues meant Johnson played just two Tests in 2012. But he said it had not hurt his cricket.
"The time that I've had away from the game has been a really good thing for me," he said.