Johnson wants to be Starc’s heir apparent for Australia

Scott Bailey |

Spencer Johnson is ready to make his mark on the international stage.
Spencer Johnson is ready to make his mark on the international stage.

Spencer Johnson has set his sights on becoming Australia’s next first-choice left-armer, declaring he wants to be the man to eventually replace Mitchell Starc.

Johnson capped his incredible six months with a man-of-the-match performance in Brisbane’s Big Bash final win on Wednesday night over the Sydney Sixers.

The 28-year-old’s 4-26 ripped the heart out of the hosts at the SCG, and landed him the best figures in a BBL decider.

Virtually unknown at the start of 2023, Johnson has now made his T20 and ODI debuts for Australia, won a title and earned a $1.78 million IPL deal in the months since August.

Johnson has stated he owes his career to the Heat, who gave him a chance last summer after injuries looked set to ruin his career before it began.

Spencer Johnson with BBL trophy.
Spencer Johnson back in Brisbane with the BBL trophy after starring in the Heat’s title charge. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

But it is more opportunities for Australia he craves.

Johnson was left out of the squads for next month’s white-ball series against West Indies, but still holds some hope of playing in the T20 World Cup in June.

“People have been coming up to me. asking how I’m going having missed Aussie selection, but 12 months ago if someone said that to me then I’d probably laugh,” Johnson said.

“The position I’m in now, I’m very grateful for. Hopefully I can play again for Australia and that’s what I want to do.

“(The T20 World Cup) is something I’d obviously like to be a part of.

“I watched the Aussies win the ODI World Cup in India. Unfortunately that was from the couch, but that looked unbelievable to be a part of.

“Playing for Australia is what I want to do so hopefully I keep performing.”

Johnson hopes his big opening will come when Starc retires.

The veteran Aussie quick has no short-term departure plans, but has previously indicated he will give white-ball cricket away first before eventually bowing out in the Test format.

Australia have had left-armers Johnson, Ben Dwarshuis, Jason Behrendorff and Daniel Sams play white-ball games in recent years.

But Johnson looks the most likely of the group and wants to ensure he is the first man called upon to replace the 33-year-old Starc.

Spencer Johnson.
Spencer Johnson (centre) was the bowling hero of the Heat’s BBL triumph in Sydney. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

“I’ve always thought that when Starcy calls time, hopefully I’m ready to go,” Johnson said.

“If I can keep performing at this level and then go back to South Australia and play some first-class cricket and get some more overs under my belt, then who knows.”

The South Australian is hopeful his chances could extend into red-ball cricket, where he has played his first four matches in the past year after injuries plagued his early 20s.

His returns are handy, however, with 20 wickets at an average of 23.15.

“It’s whatever my body lets me do,” Johnson said.

“If I feel like I am ready for all formats of cricket.”

AAP