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'I'm Ready' - Gujarat Titans Star Spencer Johnson On Filling The Shoes Of Mitchell Starc

image-lru6h01tSpencer Johnson & Starc (X.com)

Australia’s pace sensation Spencer Johnson is aiming to secure the role of Australia's first-choice left-arm paceman and hopes to eventually fill the shoes of Mitchell Starc once he retires.

Johnson had a breakthrough year in 2023, making a notable debut in the Hundred. Shortly after earning his first international call-up for Australia's T20Is against South Africa, Johnson proved his worth by dismantling the Manchester Originals' batting order at the Oval, delivering 19 dot balls out of 20 deliveries.

A turning point in Johnson's career occurred at the beginning of 2023 when he was named in an Australia A squad touring New Zealand before the Ashes series. His impressive performance in Lincoln, where he claimed figures of 4/53 in the first innings, caught the attention of selectors.

By August of the same year, Johnson found himself in Australia's T20I squad against South Africa, making a commendable international debut with figures of 2/33 in a convincing 111-run victory.

Following his success in the shortest formats, Johnson made his ODI debut for Australia against India in Indore, solidifying his place in the national team. His ability to thrive under pressure, particularly as a reliable death bowler in T20 cricket, has become a valuable asset in the shortest format of the game. Although he was on the radar for the World Cup, Johnson narrowly missed out on selection.

"I've always thought that when Starcy calls time, hopefully I'm ready to go. If I can maintain this level of performance, return to South Australia, play some first-class cricket, and accumulate more overs, then who knows,"  Spencer as quoted by cricket.com.au.

The left-arm pacer, with a base price of INR 50 lakh for the IPL 2024 Auction, surpassed expectations by securing a lucrative deal worth INR 10 crore. He was picked by the Gujarat Titans (GT).

With 29 T20 games under his belt, Johnson has claimed 35 wickets at an average of 21.37 and an economy rate of 7.44, with a best bowling figure of 4/26, which he registered recently in the BBL 2023-24 Final against the Sydney Sixers. 

As the T20 World Cup approaches, attention turns to Australia's selections. While Starc remains the leading candidate, contenders like Jason Behrendorff, Ben Dwarshius, and Johnson are vying for spots.

While Johnson's pace is considered a significant X factor, the final decision on his inclusion in the T20 World Cup squad, scheduled for the USA and West Indies, remains uncertain due to stiff competition. Nevertheless, Johnson has proven that he possesses the skills required to succeed at the highest level.