Johnson has foot in door of Test team
RISING fast bowler Mitchell Johnson is on the brink of becoming Townsville’s first home-grown Test cricketer.
Johnson, 25, stands next in line for a place in the Australian pace battery after being named as 12th man for the first four Tests of the Ashes series.
The exciting left-armer — once described by Dennis Lillee as a ‘once in a generation bowler’ — came desperately close to a Test debut before being pipped by NewSouth Welshman Stuart Clark for a place in the final XI for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane last month.
Johnson’s inclusion in the Test squad followed his impressive performances in helping the Australian limitedovers team win the Champions Trophy in India in October and November.
Johnson — who has overcome a series of battles with a debilitating back injury to continue his career — has taken 14 wickets in 10 limited-over internationals since his debut last year.
Johnson last month spoke of his delight at his inclusion in the Test squad.
‘‘The last couple of days have been hard, waiting, trying not to think about it but nowI’m in, it’s just amazing,’’ Johnson said.
‘‘It’s as big as it gets with us trying to win the Ashes back and playing in front of a home crowd with all the hype.
‘‘Just to be around it all is going to be mind-blowing.’’
Johnson has come a long way since the time two years ago he was considering giving cricket away.
His injury problems had led to him losing his Queensland cricket contract and the Wanderers junior was facing a ‘tough time personally’.
‘‘Two seasons ago I was in Townsville for a month, almost quitting the game,’’ Johnson said.
‘‘To be where I am now, I have to pinch myself to think what I’ve achieved.’’